Crossing the English Channel with AnyLogic

The English Channel tunnel that directly links Paris to London was inaugurated in 1994. Originally, its purpose was to facilitate trade between the two European capitals, but passenger transport quickly became an important issue in its functioning. Indeed, every year 50 million passengers cross the English Channel. In 2010, the Eurostar Company generated 70% of the passenger traffic between Paris and London. Eurostar succeeded in establishing the train as the main mode of passenger transportation between the two capitals, providing 20 round trips per day. In addition, the Olympic Games of 2012 in London led to an increase in the number of people using Eurostar. This emphasized the importance of having an efficient train terminal.

In order to enhance the efficiency of the management of the border-crossing in the station, (constrained by the administrative complexity of the imposed process of control), a suitable redevelopment of the terminal had to take into account many significant elements such as passenger flows classified by typology, the number of available posts of control as well as their flows, areas of waiting and control, and finally a possible pre-orientation of the passengers.

SNCF Gares & Connexions approached its subsidiary AREP, and the consulting firm EMSYSS, along with the technical support of the AnyLogic Company company (the editor of the simulation software AnyLogic), to develop a simulation model that would optimize the utilization of the Transmanche Terminal of the Gare du Nord in Paris. Their main goal was to reduce the waiting time upstream and at the points of control for passengers. The model would locate, value, and represent the possible dysfunctions in these areas.

Modeling and simulating the different aspects of the control areas of the Transmanche Terminal of the Gare du Nord in Paris was possible due to the unique technical and functional properties of the software by AnyLogic. Using the simulation software allowed SNCF to find solutions to the challenges from increased passenger traffic by optimizing the use of the terminal while enhancing the passengers’ experience. AnyLogic’s simulation software is an innovation that offered a new dimension to the Olympic Games of 2012 in London.

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