Case Study with Eurostar
Eurostar International Limited has grown significantly over the past two decades, but with success comes a new set of challenges. When they introduced a new type of train to their fleet, it offered increased capacity to carry more passengers. While this means more high-speed travel for everyone to many more places throughout Europe, it also means more people passing through the Eurostar terminals and more congestion.
Passenger numbers alone were not the sole cause of queues, so Eurostar had to find a way to identify the real triggers and understand how queues could be minimised.
This is how they used AnyLogic’s unrivalled simulation software to do it.
Simulation helps to uncover answers to the most complex questions
Will Jones, a researcher at the University of Kent, has a PhD in simulation modelling. He joined Eurostar on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to help them build a simulation model of their London and Paris terminals to improve the passenger throughput.
“The terminals are big and complicated systems, so you can’t just start rearranging things on the ground — it’s expensive and very disruptive,” says Will. “The idea was to use simulation to test potential options for changes to improve the throughput. We’d make a decision on how to change the terminal based on those findings.”
Eurostar uses several different techniques to counter congestion. New technologies like facial recognition and automated gates to move people through quickly. “But nothing is quite the same as a simulation,” says Will. Using AnyLogic, Will can demonstrate how different factors (trains, passengers, equipment, etc.) are combined. Then he simulates a delay to work out how Eurostar can best manage that disruption when it happens in reality.
Does a queue form because there are more passengers, when there’s a delay on the track, at Border Control where safety checks take place, or because of a combination of some or all of those things? AnyLogic gives Will the answers he needs.
AnyLogic simulation software allows for the testing of every element of a large, complex organisation
There are three popular modelling methods for simulation but AnyLogic is the only software that combines all of them in one package. Each method has a unique benefit, so Will uses a combination of techniques to model the different elements of Eurostar’s system. Then he can examine how one element of the system affects another, rather than study behaviours in isolation and potentially miss a vital link.
This helps Will understand patterns that initially don’t make sense. Like why there is a queue on some days when just 15,000 passengers are travelling but not when there are 20,000.