Chapter 4

  • 7 April 2009

    Today, mum and dad dropped by for dinner at my apartment. Dad's shop is doing great. We had a nice conversation about the past. Back when I was young, they often criticised my choices but now it feels so good to hear that they're proud of how I've mastered my career path and tough times at university. I told them a bit about my current work at Apex Trains, a leading train operating company. I work in the middle management and I'm highly valued among my co-workers. However, this role is very demanding at times. I have to make fast decisions under high pressure all the time, and small mistakes can result in big losses. It can be really exhausting, and I wonder if I want to be doing this forever. Another stressful situation occurred today, but I think I handled it well.


    The plan:

    • The express train Jumbo Jupiter with an average travelling speed of 300 km/h was supposed to depart from Stroudford to Hicksburg at 6:30 pm.
    • The travelling distance between those two cities is 620 km, without any stops in between.
    • Almost all the passengers plan to take a connecting train once they arrive in Hicksburg. This connecting train is also the last train of the day in Hicksburg and it always departs at midnight. The passengers need to arrive in Hicksburg before midnight, otherwise they will be stuck there overnight.

    The incident:

    • Unfortunately, a part of the Jumbo Jupiter's train engine turned out to be defective, so the train can't start.
    • It's important that the passengers arrive before midnight in Hicksburg. If they miss their connecting train in Hicksburg, they'll have to spend the night there and your company will have to cover the costs of hotels. Estimated cost: $30,000

    The options:

    1. A mechanic is ready to perform an emergency fix. This fix would cause a 4-hour delay and as compensation, the passengers would be reimbursed 50% of the price for their train tickets. Estimated cost: $8,000
    2. In the event of a complete cancellation, you'd need to reimburse the full ticket price.
    3. Alternatively, the entire motor could be exchanged. This would cause a 90-minute delay, but the estimated cost of the new motor would be $12,000.
    4. As the last option, instead of fixing the express train Jumbo Jupiter, you could move the passengers onto a different train. The train Napping Neptune would depart on time (at 6:30 pm), but its speed is only 40% of Jumbo Jupiter's.

    What would you decide in this situation and why?

    Task: Solve the conflict choosing the best of the 4 options.

    • 3 points for the correct answer
    • 7 points for the correct explanation


  • Let's calculate all the different options :

    First, the travel time if the Jumbo Jupiter can do the trip at full speed : 620km at 300km/h takes 2hours and 4 minutes to complete.

    Option 1 : A four hour delay would mean they miss their train in Hicksburg (4h + travel time > 6hours)

    >> no point in going for option 1, better to simply cancel than perform the emergency fix to no avail.

    Now let's investigate option 3 : 90min delay + travel time >> they would arrive before midnight and would get their connection. The price of the new motor is 12'000$, much less than the 30'000 needed if they miss their connecting train.

    Finally, option 4 : 40% of 300 km/h = 120 km/h. It would now take 5hours and 10min to do the trip. This would mean the passengers would arrive at 11:40pm, 20min before their connection departs. This also doesn't cost anything to the company.

    Therefore, option 4 is the best option. People would get their connection, the company wouldn't have to pay anything, and could even use part of the economy (12'000$ for the motor) to give some compensation to the passengers (a drink or sandwich in the train for example).

    Fr-201 Bad Wolf de coeur

    en pause indéterminée - away from the game until next interesting server

    Likely coming back for clash!

  • Answer: Option 4 Move the passengers onto the Napping Neptune


    Jumbo Jupiter: 620 km distance / 300 kph speed = 2 hours & 4 minutes travel time. 6:30pm departure = normally 8:34pm arrival, well in time for passengers to make their connection in Hicksburg at midnight.


    1) Mechanic fix and 50% reimbursement to all passengers will cost $8k but will also delay the passengers 4 hours arriving 40 minutes past midnight (6:30pm + 2:04h travel time + 4 hour delay for fix= 00:34am), causing them to miss their connection and resulting in an additional cost of $30k to pay for their overnight stay!

    $8k + $30k = $38k (plus unhappy passengers!)

    2) Half of the ticket price was $8k above, so cancelling the entire trip will result in a $16k compensation at full price (plus probably also unhappy passengers!).

    3) Motor exchange will cost $12k & a 90 minute delay. This will still get the passengers to their destination on time: 6:30pm + 1:30h delay + 2:04h travel time = 10:04pm, arriving almost 2 hours before midnight, well in time for the passengers to make their connection.

    4) Napping Neptune speed is 40% of 300kph = 120kph. Travel time = 620km / 120kph = 5 hours & 10 minutes.

    6:30pm departure + 5:10h travel = 11:40pm arrival, which leaves 20 minutes for the passengers to still make their connection and with no further cost to the company! $0

    Options 1 & 2 do not get the passengers to their destination on time and also result in the highest extra cost to the company. These options should therefore not be considered. Always keep your customers happy!

    Option 3 gets the passengers to their destination the quickest (smallest delay) but will still cost the company $12k.

    Option 4 Moving them to the Napping Neptune still gets the passengers to their destination on time and at the lowest ($0) cost to the company. This is therefore the best option to take.


    NL01 Stoomketel

    If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much!

  • My answer: 4 - Jumbo Jupiter,

    Explanation / reason

    1.The repair is worth it. But repairs of 4 hours and travel 2 more hours = 6 hours - passengers will be late - Rejected!

    2. Big loss of money and trust! - Rejected!

    3. This is a good option. Passengers will arrive on time - in less than 4 hours.

    Depending on the condition of the motor. There is insufficient information in this task for this decision. If a new motor is worth more than repairing it - it may worth it.

    The difference with the repair is only $ 4,000. And this is a new motor!

    We will assume that the repair is worth more - Rejected! (There is a better solution)

    4.Jumbo Jupiter - With an average speed of 120 km / h, the distance will be traveled in less than 5:30. Passengers will arrive on time. Good decision.

  • Surely the trains here never break down!

    So (and excuse me chatting to you - but hey - the life of a community manager is never easy!) there are a few issues here.

    1) A broken down train is of no use to the company. It is going to have to be repaired or replaced at some point, otherwise this is a capital investment down the drain

    2) The company needs to keep the passengers happy, 'so they use the company for future travel.

    3) And then there is the maths.....

    The Jupiter, travelling at an average of 300 km/hr will travel the 620km distance in 2 hours and 4 mins, arriving at 8:34 pm

    Option 1 - Emergency fix - 4 hour delay. Train will arrive at 00:34. Too late for connection. Cost = $30,000 in compensation and the passengers will be unhappy. And, the train will need a more durable fix. Bad choice

    Option 2 - Complete cancellation. Unhappy passengers. Train still needs fixing. Reimbursement costs of $16,000. Bad choice

    Option 3 - Exchange motor - 90 minute delay. Train will arrive at 10:04pm. Passengers get their connection. Train is fixed. Cost $12,000. Good choice. Passengers will need to hang around for an hour and a half so consider throwing in tea and biscuits to keep them happy - go on - you know us passengers are worth it!

    Option 4 - Napping Neptune. Speed is 40% of the Jupiter. Speed is 120 km/hr. It will take 5 hours 10 mins to travel 620 km. Passengers will make their connection in time, but it will be a tight run thing. And they will spend over 5 hours on the train. That's a looooong time. Travelling at this time of the evening with a late arrival will leave no time for dinner at the other end - so I hope there is food on the train. And, the Jupiter still needs fixing. Not a good choice.

    Options 1 and 2 are not appropriate.

    Option 3 is the one to go for

    But, if it is a summer evening with a journey through beautiful country side and if there is a dinning car on the Neptune, some passengers may like the sound of option 4.

    So - the company should take option 3, but if circumstances are favourable, the company could also advise passengers that they have the choice of taking the Neptune instead. You never know, the company may make a killing with cash purchases in the dinning car!!!!

    Champagne and canapes anyone?

  • normal situation:

    from Stroudford at 6:30pm, 620km to Hicksburg is traveling by 300 km/h in 2hours 4minutes, so arrival in Hicksburg is 8:34pm...

    1. 4 hours delay is unacceptable, because 8:34pm + 4hours is 12:34am, and too late, so the cost will be $8.000 reimbursing + $30.000 hotels in Hicksburg

    2. If is not possible transport passengers in time, at least at midnight in Hicksburg, So we must apologize to the passengers and pay back the entire fare, cost will be $16.000

    3. Exchanging motor, may be the best option, but it will be expensive… then the passenger depart from Stroudford at 8:00pm, in Hicksburg will be at 10:04pm. It cost $12.000

    4. Also possible is change the train, but passengers pay for express..., Napping Neptune's speed is 120km/h, so the distance 620km will travel 2,5 times longer, 5h 10minutes, in Hicksburg is 11:40pm, just before midnight. The question is whether we should not pay passengers a part of the fare back…

    So option 4 is cheapest ($0), but reputation will go down…, and our mechanic repair damaged train. Repair will cost? (Hidden costs)

    Option 3 is better, but expensive ($12.000), we apologize for a "little" delay, and we have repaired train (no hidden costs)

  • Tja, da kann man nur sagen: "Umsteigen, bitte!" Ganz nüchtern betrachtet (also mit dem Blick auf den akuten Kosten), ist Option 4 sicherlich die beste. Kostet nix und holt die Kuh gerade so noch vom Eis.

    Option 1:

    JJ braucht 124 min für die Strecke + 240 min Verzögerung durch die Notreparatur = 364 min Gesamtzeit, damit kommt JJ also 34 min zu spät an, um den Anschlusszug noch zu erreichen. Kosten total somit $38,000.

    Option 2:

    Wenn die Hälfte der Ticketpreise laut Option 1 bei $8,000 liegt, kostet diese Option exakt $16,000. Plus Unmut auf Seiten der Fahrgäste, die ja vor allem ankommen wollen.

    Option 3:

    124 + 90 = 214 min, damit also entspannt unter dem Grenzwert (330 min). Kosten $12,000.

    Option 4:

    Bummelzug NN braucht 310 min für die gesamte Strecke, kommt also 20 min vor Mitternacht an. Dieses kleine Restrisiko-Bauchkribbeln für die Fahrgäste gibt es gratis dazu. Kosten $0.

  • 300km/h = 620km in 2hrs 4 mins. To arrive by midnight need to leave by 9:56

    1. 4hr delay = 10:30 leave - miss connection $8,000 compensation + $30,000 hotel = $38,000

    2. full refund = $16,000

    3. 90 min delay = 8pm leave so make connection, new motor $12,000

    4. 40% of 300km/h = 120 km/h = 620km in 5hrs 10 min can make connection at no cost

    Option 4

  • I would select option 4 as it is cheapest and gets the passengers to Hicksburg in due time for the connection.

    Option 1: The train will take 2 hours 4 mins for the trip with normal arrival at 8:34 pm. Adding 4 hour for the fix will cause the train to arrive 34 mins past midnight and therefore add a cost of $30,000 on top of the $8,000 reimbursement = $38,000

    Option 2: Cancellation is 2x $8,000 = $16,000

    Option 3: Adding 90 mins to the travel time calculated in option 1 will cause the train to arrive at 10:04 pm which is in due time for the connecting train. Cost $12,000

    Option 4: The train will travel at 120 km/h (40% of 300). It will therefore take 5 hours 10 mins to travel causing the train to arrive at 11:40 pm in due time for the connection. Cost $0

  • There are 2 factors to this problem: 1. Time to get the passengers to Hicksburg and; 2. Costs to the company.


    Ticket sales =$16,000

    Total time allowed to get passengers to Hicksburg = 5.5 hrs

    Travel time for Jumbo Jupiter to travel to Hicksburg = 620 /300 = 2.1 hours (rounding up)

    Travel time for Napping Neptune to travel to Hicksburg = 620 / (0.4 * 300) = 5.2 hours (rounding up)

    Analysis of options:

    Option 1

    Time: 4 hrs delay + 2.1 hrs travel time = 6.1 hrs. This is greater than the 5.5 hrs allowed.

    Cost: $8,000 (50% compensation) + $30,000 (over-nite hotel accommodation) = $38,000

    Option 2

    Time: As the train journey is cancelled, this will damage the companies reputation and is considered a failure.

    Cost: $16,000 (ticket refund)

    Option 3

    Time: 1.5 hr motor change delay + 2.1 hrs travel time = 3.6 hrs. This is within the 5.5 hrs allowed.

    Cost: $12,000 (motor cost)

    Option 4

    Time: 5.2 hrs travel time. This is within the 5.5 hrs allowed.

    Cost: $0 (no cost)

    The best option is Option 4. The train arrives in time and at no extra cost.

  • Option 1: Not possible because with 4 hr delay the train will arrive at 00 hr 34 min, it can cause the passengers lost the train and they just will receive 8,000 instead 30,000

    Option 2: I suppose the passengers need to arrive to the other city, so, cancellation of this train is the last option

    Option 3: with 90 min daly the train will arrive 10:34 pm it is good option because the motor but the cost is 12,000 instead to pay 8,000

    Option 4: Change passengers in other train 40% of speed is 120 km/hr means it will take 5:10 hr, it will arrive at 11:40 pm the passengers will have time to take the next train - this is the best option

  • R: 3 Change the motor and pay $12000

    First thing to do is calculate how long it will be the journey:

    620km at 300Km/h - 2h and 2min

    1 - they will arrive after midnight - 4h (delay) + 2,02h = 6,02h

    if they start at 6.30pm they arrive at 00.32am- a lot of costs -

    2 - Lot of costs

    3 - motor repair - and 90min delay - 1,5h (delay) + 2,02h = 3,52h

    If thet start at 6.30pm they arrive at 10.28pm

    4 - 40% of the speed represents a speed of 120km/h so, to make 620km they will spend 310min about 5,17h in journey.

    If they start at 6.30pm they arrive at 11.47pm

    So, if it was me, i will protect the customers and myself. The motor it will always be repaired so the costsof $12.000 are in both situations.

    It gives a better journey for customers, less stress, with less risk of other problem that will make the arriving after midninght...

    If you are in a situation, that you have to risk, you dont have the $12.000 to pay repair, so if they arrive after midnight you cannot refund.... good luck with your life

  • I would choose Option 4. The Napping Neptune would arrive at 11:40pm thereby getting the passengers there in time for the connecting train, and we wouldn't have to pay a mechanic overtime to fix Jumping Jupiter.

    Option 1 would cost the most. $8,000 for the repair plus $30,000 for hotel costs, since it would not make Hicksburg in time to make the connecting train. Plus we would lose half the fares.

    Option 2 would cost us all the fares for the trip and be a PR disaster.

    Option 3 would allow Jumping Jupiter to reach Hicksburg in time to make the connecting train, but we would have to pay a mechanic overtime to fix the train. Additionally, there would be a minor PR problem having people wait the 90 minutes, even though the train could still arrive quicker than the Neptune. People who are travelling would rather be moving, than sitting still.