Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)

Degree Level



Industrial Engineering


Chase Rainwater

Committee Member

Ashlea Milburn

Second Committee Member

Sarah Root


Social sciences, Applied sciences, Operation research, Rail planning


Population growth in rural areas has led to new interest in rail transportation. Planning a passenger rail system involves numerous difficult decisions, most representing a trade-off between customer service and cost. In this work, we attempt to integrate many of these planning decisions. We consider strategic decisions such as station location and vehicle procurement, as well as tactical issues that include vehicle scheduling. Our integrated model exploits the linear network structure that best suits many rural American communities, including Northwest Arkansas. Due to the intractability of the integrated rail planning problem, we have developed a customized heuristic approach to solve real world instances. In our case study, we have applied our model and solution methodology to study the possibility of implementing a passenger rail system in Northwest Arkansas. Our work represents the first steps in a passenger rail feasibility study for Northwest Arkansas, while providing new mathematical modeling and solution methodology contributions to the area of transportation research.