Agile Simulation in planning and operating London’s Elizabeth Line
This paper describes how agile railway simulation increased the effectiveness of timetable analysis and operations planning for London’s Elizabeth line. The paper defines agile railway simulation as a process which closely integrates simulation with operations planning to quickly complete small well-defined planning tasks (similar to agile software development) rather than the more traditional approach of completing simulation in a separate step. As a large, complex, and highly interrelated project connecting surface rail lines on the east and west sides of London via a new central tunnel the Elizabeth line is an excellent case study for agile simulation. MTR Elizabeth line, the service operator, used agile simulation in developing its winning concession bid and has continued to use it for short-term planning. Agile simulation has been particularly helpful because the line’s multi-stage opening plan depended upon completion of infrastructure projects, rolling stock acquisitions, and service changes, which could not always be delivered on schedule. Agile simulation is made possible by the rapidly increasing speed and power of information technology. These enable simulation to be used more often and for more types of projects. The paper can help inform the development of new approaches for using simulation to support short-term railway planning and operations.