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Using AutoRouter

AutoRouter generates a list of possible routes between the station locations that are entered. 

Follow the steps below to generate a list of valid railroad junction sequences between any two points in North America.

1.  Select the AutoRouter tab on the Ribbon.

2.  To enter an origin, select a format from the drop-down menu.

3.  Type a station name or code using the selected format.

4. Click Add Stop or press <Enter> and make a selection in the pick list that opens (possible routes won’t be limited by the carrier you pick).

5. The drop-down in the RR column lists valid carriers for the entered location—uncheck any carriers that you do not wish to include. To generate the widest selection of possible routes, All Railroads needs to be checked.

6. Repeat steps 2-5 to enter a maximum of two more stops (a destination, and optionally, a via junction that you want the route to pass through).

7. Click Run or press <F10> to generate a list of possible routes.

8. To examine any route on the list, click its View button. The route will be displayed as a single route in the Routes window and will be drawn on the map.  As a single route, it can be edited and rerun.

TIP: The width of columns in a single route window can be changed. When multiple single routes are open, a scroll bar appears on the right side of the Routes window as needed for browsing.

How AutoRouter generates routes

AutoRouter uses an algorithmic model to pick suitable junction interchanges and carriers. The model relies on information about popular junction interchanges between carriers from historical traffic data in the Carload Waybill Sample.

  • One route is generated for each origin railroad and destination railroad combination. If the destination has other junctions nearby in the same SPLC area, routes that pass through those junctions are listed as additional possibilities. Please see example below. (Only the PC*MILER Rail desktop user interface and PC*MILER Rail Batchpro can list all of the junctions in the same SPLC area for the destination railroad.)
  • If a railroad serves both the origin and the destination, then only local routes are shown (no interline routes).
  • If the Exclude Terminal Switching option is turned on, then any interline route that has a junction interchange at the origin or destination (i.e. terminal switching) is removed from the list.

AutoRouter limitations

  • It is not advisable to use the Shortest routing option with the AutoRouter. When routes are based on shortest distance, they most likely will be more expensive, and run on less preferred quality track, track with higher fees, or both. 
  • Data updates in PC*MILER 29 and higher have made the AutoRouter more reliable than ever, but there may be instances where it doesn't work properly. In those cases, we recommend that you re-enter and re-run the route.
  • AutoRouter does not have Fuel Surcharge routing, and AutoRouter output must not be used in Fuel Surcharge computations.

AutoRouter example 

In the example below, the origin of Haverhill, OH and the destination of Baton Rouge, LA are entered. The route is calculated and PC*MILER Rail determines that an intermediate junction is needed to reach Baton Rouge.

The highlighted AutoRouter link is selected and the next screen appears under the AutoRouter tab. The Run button is selected to generate the AutoRoute.

The routing engine calculates the NS - CHGO CN route seen below and lists it first. It is selected because it has the lowest cost. (The algorithm only calculates one final route path after running many paths in the background.) 

The NS - NEWOR KCS and NS - NEWOR UP are also shown because the candidate junctions in New Orleans are in the same radius SPLC geographic area as the destination, Baton Rouge. Then one route path is run for the NEWOR KCS junction and one path for NEWOR UP.  

Notice that only CN appears as a railroad to run on. Depending on the destination entered, other railroads may appear in the selection list. When there are multiple railroads, AutoRouter will run several minimum paths on each railroad in the list and it will select the least cost route path for each origin and destination railroad combination.

The screenshot below shows how AutoRouter found the two additional candidate routes by simply matching SPLC code 647000000. 

When terminal switching is included, AutoRouter will generate any stations that can be used for terminal switching. This is a geocode (location) lookup to add the terminal switching stations to the list. (It is not determined by running several route paths searching for the least cost route.) Below, the second station for NS - CHGO CN - BATON GOGR is a switching terminal.