Railway capacity is now an increasingly prominent issue for government, infrastructure managers and operators. Although a range of definitions and explanations for railway capacity have been published, together with models and proposals for improvement, none of these have managed to include the railway as a complete system. They have tended in general to concentrate on operational or train control systems.
The first part of this report covers a review of current knowledge of railway capacity, comprising a literature review and a workshop with a wide range of stakeholders. The second part of this report reports on a newly-developed tool, Matrix model for modelling railway capacity as a complete system, including infrastructure, vehicles and operations. This tool is designed to support early high level decisions on the rail system attributes influencing capacity on particular routes or lines. The report also presents the results of a preliminary analysis carried out using PRIME, a capacity planning tool that allows a high level evaluation of capacity impacts within a flexible modelling environment, to examine the effects on headways of new signalling, different speed profiles and train lengths on the central part of the Thameslink route.

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