Prediction of departure delays at original stations using deep learning approaches: A combination of route conflicts and rolling stock connections

Zhongcan Li, Ping Huang*, Chao Wen, Jie Li, Filipe Rodrigues

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Rolling stock connections and route conflicts of trains at terminal stations are critical to train delay propagation and prediction on the railway networks. Previous studies primarily focused on delay prediction/propagation from a macro perspective, without considering the two factors. To address this problem, a hybrid neural network architecture, called TLF-net, is proposed to predict departure delays at original stations (DDOSs), considering the rolling-stock connection and potential route conflicts in the railway network. TLF-net consists of a transformer, a long short-term memory (LSTM), and a fully-connected neural network (FCNN) block, to separately address variables with different characteristics. Based on the real-world data from two terminal stations in China, the experimental results show that the consideration of the potential route conflicts from the network can considerably improve TLF-net's prediction performance over the model that only considers train interactions on a single railway line. Also, it is proven that arrival/departure routes of consecutive trains are crucial for delay prediction, while using the transformer block can efficiently reveal the route conflict severity between arrival/departure routes. The sensitivity analysis to influence factors demonstrates the significance of considering the rolling stock connection and potential route conflicts. Finally, to support real-time railway traffic management, a train arrival delay prediction model from our previous study is integrated to predict the input of TLF-net (i.e., train arrival delays), enabling the proposed model to dynamically predict the DDOSs. This dynamic updating lengthens the prediction horizon (the prediction time ahead), making it better support real-time train traffic control and management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120500
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Departure delay
  • Dynamic prediction
  • Rolling stock connection
  • Route conflict severity
  • Transformer


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