Railway Simulation treno/trenissimo

Railway Simulation Treno plus and trenissimo


MC TDS offers rail system simulations based on trenolab software Solutions.


TRENOplus and Trenissimo

Understanding the processes and the dynamics of real railway operations in a key factor to plan and manage them at best. Even timetables planned correctly can show unsatisfactory reliability when put into operations. The possibility to point out, measure and visualize the sources an the effects of delays or rail traffic plays a crucial role in maximizing the punctuality allowed by the existing rolling stock and infrastructure. Moreover, it supports planners in defining the requirements for the infrastructure improvements or simply the input parameters to be used in traffic simulations.

Based on a robust, powerful and reliable database widely appreciated by users, TRENO allows

  1. analyzing real and simulated operational data (TRENOAnalysis).
  2. running simulation scenarios in a smart way, remarkably improving the productivity and the accuracy of results (trenissimo).
  3. creating from scratch and editing rail timetables, estimating the running times and producing the most common timetable-related outputs, such as graphic timetables, platform occupation diagrams, train diagrams such as speed vs distance (TRENOPlus).

It is possible to use TRENO as stand-alone (database and software on the same computer) or as client+server, where multiple users work on the same database.

Users and References

The tool is already used by over 20 Train Operating Companies, Infrastructure Managers and consulting companies such as the Norwegian Rail Administration (Jernabaneverket – JBV), the the Italian Infrastructure Manager RFI, the operator of the London Overground network, Arriva Rail London, MTR Europe and SNCF Transilien.

At TRENOlab, TRENO was used to analyze operational data, manage simulation studies and plan timetables in several studies and in particular on some 4,000 km of Italian and British Network, on the RER A, B, C E as well as most of the heavy rail network in Paris, on the entire Lyon region, and on the complete Dutch and Norwegian networks.



Timetable planning is becoming more and more strategic for railway operators, since a well-planned timetable allows maximizing the potentials of existing networks in terms of capacity and quality of services.

TRENOPlus is a powerful timetable planning tool developed from scratch with the aim of taking maximum advantage from the latest advances in the network models and algorithms. TRENOPlus integrates a macroscopic and a mesoscopic network models to allow estimating running times and therefore planning timetables – but also estimating the impact of improvements – at different levels of detail. Based on the available time and data the user can freely decide to use one of the two or even a combination of them.

The mesoscopic model allows not only viewing the usage of lines and stations based on pre-defined headway times, but it are automatically and accurately estimated based on the real position of signals and displayed on the graphic timetable by means of the so-called blocking times steps.

TRENOPlus is based on a scalable database management system supporting any number of trains and the shared use of a data set even on the basic version.

Key characteristics

  • Easy-to-use, flexible timetable planning tool;
  • Suitable for any sort of passenger, freight and metro service;
  • Easy import and export of timetable of timetable of other operators;
  • Multi-scale network model, up to signal-berth level;
  • Ideal to schedule services and define the required infrastructure improvements;
  • Usable as stand-alone or by multiple users in a network;
  • Undo and complete history of changes stored in the db


Running time calculator

The Running Time Calculator enables an accurate estimation for any kind of trainset, considering the curves gradients and signals as well as a realistic behavior of drivers, modelled on the basis of a research project that has been awarded at international level.

Loading the required data requires only few simple steps; moreover, data stored in the database can be easily exported to other studies. The results can be viewed in various diagrams, showing, among others, not only the speed, but also the acceleration and the energy consumption.


  • Macroscopic (without signals) and mesoscopic (including signals)
  • Quick, intuitive definition of locomotives & trainsets;
  • Gradients, tunnel and curve resistance information;
  • Flexible configuration of train performances;
  • Output automatically used in the timetable;
  • Various diagrams, such as speed vs time or energy consumption vs distance;
  • Export as pdf, drawing and picture;
  • Log file recording all calculated parameters including energy consumption.



On long-term planning studies, a single standard day is sufficient to develop timetables. However, when it comes to short-term planning, greater detail is required to accurately define timetables in response to temporary alterations, such as weekend variations and additional or cancelled trains.

A Calendar module is integrated into TRENOPlus with the aim to allow the definition of any combination of operating days for timetables (either created from scratch or imported from third-party tools).



  • global visualization of the operations for any calendar date;
  • easy definition of operating/non-operating days thanks to calendar view;
  • quick definition of simple operating periods;
  • full support of RailML operating days;
  • full support of complex operating days;
  • full support of train runs longer than 24h.


Train Editor

The timetable editor allows creating single and regular-interval timetables in few clicks.


  • Operations with MUs, coupling/decoupling of units/coaches
  • Multiple lock the timetable of a group
  • Asymmetric bidirectional train groups
  • Independent margins (percentage/time)
  • Percentage margins for part of the train (multiple selection)
  • Undo, Reload from Disk, and full history of changes.


Graphic timetable

Graphic timetables are the most common way to represent train operations: timetable planners can immediately point out the critical points of timetable by simply looking at it. In TRENOPlus, timetable graphs can be customized with a series of options and include the representation of the infrastructure usage. Depending on the detail you choose when defining the network, the blocking times (occupation) of trains are calculated and shown, as well as the conflicts among trains.

Scroll-to-zoom and other flexible settings allow customizing the graphic settings of the timetable, and a variety of output formats ensures the graph will always be attractive. When the highest editing flexibility is required, the graphic timetable is exported as drawing to be completely modified in third-party software.


  • View the planned and calculated running times;
  • View the conflicts between trains;
  • Calculate the blocking times based on the position of signals;
  • Usable on any user-defined corridor;
  • Filters for operating days and validity periods;
  • Edit a train within a graphic timetable;
  • See the platform assignment in the graphic timetable
  • Zoom and flexible graphic editing, Export as drawing, pdf or high-resolution image in various formats.


Example of  graphic timetable showing the planned and calculated times (left) and, additionally, the blocking times and conflicts (right)

Example of  graphic timetable showing the planned times, the running time margins (in yellow and green) and the utilisation of platforms at STFD.


Platform Occupation

With the increasing demand for short-distance services in the most busy networks, stations are often operated at their saturation level. It is therefore fundamental to define the allocation of tracks, their occupancy, the shunting movements and the arrival/departure times in order to plan the best possible timetable.

The platform occupation allow a simple editing with drag&drop; the diagram can be exported as drawing or high-resolution image in a variety of formats


  • Global visualization of track occupation;
  • Possibility to use default rule-based assignment;
  • Visualization of conflicts;
  • Visualization of physical occupation and blocking time;
  • Graphic editing;
  • Graphic definition of Turnarounds;
  • Graphic definition of shunting movements.


TRENOPlus includes a simple function to estimate and visualise the unit diagrams of the trainsets used in a timetable.

Line Concept Diagram and Network views

When working on complex and/or large networks, having a clear view over lines and station is fundamental to understand how they are structured and how trains are routed.

Moreover, the possibility to create attractive images with just few clicks, using various maps as backgrounds, consistently increases the communicability of the projects, with a intuitive and self-explaining description of the network.



  • Visualization of any number of lines;
  • Geographically accurate, simple editing;
  • Visualization of complex layouts;
  • Visualization of train itinerary;
  • Multiple Google and OpenStreetMap backgrounds;
  • Graphic definition of station coordinates.


Passenger and working timetable

TRENO allows creating and exporting the passenger and working timetables as excel files. The passenger timetable displays the public arrival and departure times, while the working timetable can

additionally include the running time margins, the station and line tracks used by the trains.



Example of Passenger (above) and Working timetable exports.


Technical Details

TRENO features a very smart infrastructure model. It contains all data required to plan a timetable, by allowing at the same time a quick preparation of the model.

Depending on the required level of detail, the user can decide to insert the minimum characteristics required to calculate the running times, or using the microscopi model of trenissimo, which allow estimating accurately the running and occupation times as well as automatically identifying the conflicts among trains


TRENO acts as a hub and a data integrator among multiple third-party software. Therefore, the management and analysis of large amounts of data becomes quick and simple. Interfaces to import the planned and real traffic data, as well as the infrastructure model for the following file formats are currently integrated within the software: RailML 1.0 and 2.2, Text files, Excel (.csv).

Specific interfaces have been developed several times for custom formats are added on-demand.



Railway is a complex system. Infrastructure, rolling stock and timetable interact together with human factors and daily disturbances. Microscopic simulation is the most accurate technique to model and quantitatively represent these complex interactions and support railway undertakings at all stages of planning. The most widely-used simulation tools were developed several years ago, and have since then maintained their original principles. But, in the era of Big Data the availability of large amounts of extremely accurate train tracking data and the increased computational power allows modelling reality at a higher level of detail without exceeding the reasonable computation times.

The new trenissimo tool was developed with the specific aim of obtaining a more realistic simulation of railway operations, combining new characteristics and functionalities not yet or only in part implemented in the existing tools. One of the most important innovations is the representation of both drivers and dispatchers as agents, who respectively drive the trains following the timetable and signalling/ATP system and control them based on given criteria or algorithms.

A second characteristic is the control of signals: as in the reality, the block signals are automatically switched to green, while the others are operated by the dispatchers.


Under the hood

trenissimo is a Java application natively compatible with all operating systems. It was developed using the Netbeans Platform, a framework designed to create a very flexible and user-friendly environment: it permits to work with graphical elements and dispose them in different monitors, grouping them together into tabs, etc. Netbeans Platform is used in a number of complex professional applications developed and/or used among others at Oracle, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, NASA, NATO and, in the field of simulation transport system, AnyLogic. The figure 3 shows the working environment of trenissimo.

The working environment of trenissimo.

Input data

The input data are separated into 6 groups:

  • Rules: the general rules/settings of a country/network: speedtypes, signal aspects /ATP /ATC, power supply;
  • Macroscopic infrastructure: each OCP is represented by a point, and the lines are formed by simple edges connecting them. This macroscopic network creates the perfect compatibility with the TRENOPlus planning tool, and can be imported from it.
  • Microscopic infrastructure: the microscopic network, including the alignment, the complete layout of stations, speed limits, signalling system, etc.
  • Simulation data: the simulation area (in case it is a portion of the network model) and its corridors.
  • Rolling Stock: the technical characteristics of trainsets.
  • Timetable: in a very simple format produced by TRENOPlus that requires no import to be used.

The combination of these inputs forms a project: by changing any of them within the tool a new project is generated, and only the modified data are duplicated, while all the others are maintained. The navigation among all projects (scenarios) is extremely intuitive and simple, allowing the users to easily create and store several variants.

Graphic Infrastructure Editor

The graphic editor for the infrastructure uses the well-known double vertex graph to represent the network. This characteristic allows a very intuitive editing of the infrastructure and simplifies the creation of train routes. Moreover, it gives the highest flexibility in representing the specific characteristics of each station and line, without forcing the use of pre-defined blocks. This allows, for example, the presence of different OCPs on the two tracks of a double track line.

By mid 2019 it will be possible to import the infrastructure from RailML 2.3 files. The infrastructure can be edited graphically as drag&drop of elements or imported as csv table. All characteristics of all elements are shown in tabs. The tool allows finding any element by entering part of its characteristic(s) (such as the ID for a station), as well as highlights elements with missing relevant characteristics (such as the speed). A Navigator allows easily navigating in large files, while a Macroscopic Network view can be used to quickly open the microscopic model of any station or part of the network.

Simulation process

The tool reproduces railway operations in a mixed continuous-discrete approach: it calculates the solution well-known motion equation [[1]] of trains in a continuous way, considering the discrete processes of signal states. At present, trenissimo features the Italian, French, British and Norwegian signalling systems, as well as the ETCS Level 1 and 2; other systems -including the CBTC and ETCS Level 3- will be implemented in the coming months.

One of key strengths of trenissimo is that also the dispatcher is simulated: as in the real world, while automatic block signals are automatically set to green, a dispatcher oversees the operation, opening the home and exit signals based on the planned and actual positions of trains. As a result, and similar to real operations, the dispatcher always controls operations: he can take decisions based on simple rules, or more complex algorithms. This principle allows implementing robust deadlock-prevention algorithms, as well as testing the effective impact of different dispatching strategies. Based on a set of rules, the dispatcher is also able to cancel train services, or short-turning them the reduce the propagation of delays.

Stochastic parameters

Following the principles explained in [2], the key stochastic inputs for an accurate simulation are the initial delays, the dwell times and the variability of running times. trenissimo fully implements the combination of stochastic dwell time and departure inaccuracy proposed to accurately represent the dwell times of the early- and late-arriving trains.

Concerning the variability of running times, based on the results of an analysis of train tracking data [[3]], in trenissimo the driving style of drivers is represented by a set of six parameters, one for each phase of motion: acceleration, cruising, coasting, braking at stops, signals and speed restrictions.


Besides a recorded animation of the simulation that shows the trains moving on the network during the simulation including the exact signal aspects, trenissimo produces all classic graphic timetables, statistics and outputs. The graphic timetables can be visualized using the so-called stochastic blocking times, in which the blocking times of several iterations of a Monte Carlo simulation are represented on the same diagram using transparencies: the darker a set of blocking times is, the lower the variability of the corresponding service. Also the occupation areas of different courses can overlap: the darker overlapping area, the higher is the probability of conflict. the figure below shows an example of the stochastic blocking times.

Besides its integrated viewer, the results of stochastic simulation can be imported and analysed with the wider and attractive set of diagrams and statistics produced by TRENOAnalysis which, additionally, allows directly comparing real and simulated data as well as the result of multiple scenarios.


[1] D. Wende. Fahrdynamik. Teubner, Stuttgart, 2003.

[2] Medeossi G., de Fabris S.: Simulation of Rail Operations. In Handbook of Optimization in the Railway Industry, Springer, pp. 1-24, 2018

[3] de Fabris, S., G. Longo, Medeossi, G.. Automated analysis of train event recorder data to improve micro-simulation models. In: J. Allan, E. Arias, C. A. Brebbia et al., Computers in Railways XI, WIT Press, Southampton, 575-585, 2008.