The rail transport volume in Germany increases for years, while corresponding expansion of the infrastructure is rather small, since the changes of the infrastructure are always capital-intensive and long term projects. Germany as a transit country in central Europa faces a great challenge in the next years. In particular, this applies for the rail freight traffic. Recent estimates assume an increase up to 80 percent by 2025. To make best use of the infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn has to identify the bottlenecks of the network. One important part is to find routes that avoid the occurrence of bottlenecks. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the existing network to estimate and make best use of the available capacity. In this context the Deutsche Bahn AG focuses on the rail freight train routing on a strategic planning level in a simplified (macroscopic) transport network. The major aim is to determine routes for freight trains by taking into account the available railway infrastructure and the already planned and invariant passenger traffic.

The routing of freight trains is quite different from passenger trains since departure and arrival time windows are less strict and routes are not limited by several intended intermediate stops. Nevertheless, passenger and freight trains in Germany share the same infrastructure, and therefore we have to consider the railway system as a whole including railway passenger transport and infrastructure to provide reasonable strategic prospectus. Railway infrastructure (from network design), predefined passenger transportation (from line planning or even timetabling) is given as input as well as forecasting results for future freight traffic demand. Based on that data a reasonable traffic flow for the freight trains covering the forecasted demand is determined, which is the topic of this project.