A simulation study on the potential of moving urban freight by a cross-city railway line.

Praful Potti, Marin Marinov, Edward Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyses the scope for moving urban freight through rail by evaluating the utilisation levels of the Cross-City railway line in The United Kingdom (UK), running between Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street. A simulation model of the railway system was built and implemented using SIMUL8 computer software. The results from the simulation model suggest that the railway line is being under-utilised. These low utilisation levels of the line presented a case to propose three scenarios that has the potential to carry urban freight by rail through Lichfield Trent Valley to Birmingham New Street Station. The total number of services operated on the line is varied between different scenarios. The proposed three scenarios could not only exploit the existing railway infrastructure by improving the utilisation levels of the currently operating railway line, but also proved to reduce an amount of green-house gases (GHGs) emissions that are caused by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) moving on the road. After simulating all the proposed scenarios in the SIMUL8 simulation software and analysing the results, scenario number 3 seemed to be the best replacement to the actual system as it presents a case to increase the number of train services running per day by in the line by 108 and causing a drastic improvement in the utilisation levels by an increase of 341.71% to that of the actual system. This proposed system has the potential to eliminate 5400 HGVs moving on the road per day that causes a reduction of CO 2 gas by approximately 5.4%. All the scenarios presented in the study assures a sustainable method to move the urban freight by rail that has the potential to reduce congestion and emissions in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom (UK).

Original languageEnglish
Article number6088
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


  • Congestion
  • Emission
  • HGVs
  • Rail
  • SIMUL8
  • Simulation
  • Sustainable
  • Urban freight
  • Utilisation levels


Dive into the research topics of 'A simulation study on the potential of moving urban freight by a cross-city railway line.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this