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!

  • First of all notice that (for an observer standing on a platform) the jupiter takes 620/300=2h 4min to reach Hicksburg.

    Option 1 would take a total time of 6h 4minto reach Hicksburg, thus the passengers will miss their connection in Hicksburg (we only have 5h 30min), thus the costs will add up to $38 000.

    Option 2 would cost a total of $16 000 (as half their ticket price is $8000), however now some passengers might be stuck in Stroudford...

    Option 3 would take 3h 34min to reach Hicksburg, thus passengers will be able to change at Hicksburg. The costs are now $12 000, plus some reimbursement for the delay.

    Option 4 would take us in 620/300/.4=5h 10min to Hicksburg, thus passengers will be in time to catch their connection. The cost will only be some reimbursement for the delay, but this will be less than $8000 , since the delay is smaller than in option 1.

    It should be clear that option 4 is preferred.

  • 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.

  • The best option is 4. Napping Neptune

    Napping Neptune travels at an average speed of 120 Km/h. It will cover the 620 Km in 5 hours and 10 minutes, arriving at Hicksburg at 23:40. The passengers will have enough time to make their connections.

    There is no cost for this option.

    Option 1 will result in the passengers arriving after midnight. It takes Jumbo Jupiter 2 hours 4 minutes to travel 620 Km. With the 4 hour delay caused by the repair, the passengers will arrive at 00:34. The cost will be $8,000 for the train fare compensation and $30,000 for hotel costs.

    Option 3 will also arrive in time for the connections. The repair delay added to the travel time will result in Jumbo Jupiter arriving at 22:04. This option will cost $12,000 for the new motor.

    Option 2 will cost $16,000 for reimbursement of train fares. In addition, you fail to transport any passengers to their destination.

  • 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?

  • This assumes, of course, that both trains can run together...!!!

  • Hi,

    I would pick solution 4, since it doesnt cost anything extra and all passengers would be in time in Hicksburg.

    The trip would take 5 hours and 10 mins at the speed of 120 km/h. So there would be 20 mins to change trains. All good.

    The other options all costs extra money and in options 1 and 2 the passengers wouldnt make it. So they are all worse.



  • 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)

  • I would choose option 3. For the train arrive at earliest possible time with a normal cost.

    Jumbo train needs 124 minutes for reaching Hicksburg, meaning that the latest departure is 21:54 to be there by midnight

    Neptune train needs 207 minutes for reaching Hicksburg, meaning that the latest departure is 20:15 to be there by midnight

    Option 1 makes Jumbo departure time 22:30 so it can' t arrive on time, meaning a total cost of 8.000 + 30.000 = 38.000

    Option 2 costs 16.000 but you still need to fix the train, so 16.000 + 12.000 = 28.000

    Option 3 costs makes Jumbo departure time 20:00 and arrival time 22:04 so it will be ther on time with a total cost of 12.000

    Option 4 Neptune arrives at 22:07 and the cost is 12.000 for fixing the Jumbo.

  • 1 вариант:

    Из-за 4-х часовой задержки поезд стартанет в 10:30 pm. -$8,000.

    Поезду понадобится (620 км)/(300 км/ч) = 2 часа 4 минуты чтобы добраться до Hicksburg. Поезд прибудет в 12:34 pm. Все пассажиры опоздают и пойдут в отель.

    Доход: -$30,000 - $8,000 = -$38,000

    2 вариант:

    При отмене бронирования возмещаем полную стоимость билета.

    Доход: -2*$8,000 = -$16,000

    3 вариант:

    Замена двигателя $ 12 000.

    Поезд прибудет в 8:34 pm

    Доход: -$12,000

    4 вариант:

    Napping Neptune будет двигаться со скоростью 0,4 * 300 км/ч = 120 км/ч

    В пути он будет (620 км)/(120 км/ч) = 5 часов 10 минут.

    Поезд прибудет без опаздания в 23:40 pm

    Доход: $16,000 (цена билетов)

    Ответ: 4 вариант.

  • The solution for this is option number 4.

    The reason for this:

    The Napping Neptune takes 5 hours and 10 minutes to reach Hicksburg. It will be there at 11:40 pm. Then the passengers have 20 minutes to embark their train to the next destination. This is at 0$ cost.

    Option 1 would be too late, they would arrive at 34 minutes past midnight in Hicksburg, and it costs 30.000 $ for overnight spending.

    Option 2 would cost 16.000 $ for refunding tickets, and no passengers would reach their destination.

    Option 3 would cost 12.000 $ and it would make it in time, but its more expensive than option number 4. (They would reach Hicksburg at 10:04 pm)

  • Considering the cheapest option first: Waking up The Napping Neptune:
    Speed = 40% of 300= 120 km/h.
    Distance = 620km

    620/120=5.16. So it would take 5 hours and 10 minutes to get to Hickburg. That is just enough.

    So the cheapest option is the one I would pick.

  • 4. option (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.) is best, because from 6:30pm to mid night it´s 5.5 hours. so the Jumbo Jupiter need about 2.4 hours to get there with 300 km. if the other train got only 40 procent of speed its: (300/100:3 , 3*40: 120.) 120km/h and the train drive 620km in 5.1(2/3) hours. so5hours and 10minutes. its enougt to get over and have a short break.;)

  • The most cost efective is the 4th option. 40% of Jumbo jupiter means 120km/h witch means that Napping Neptune can arrive there in 5hours and 10 minutes at 23:40. There iare20 min to 00:00 to get to the connection train.

  • The option you choose depends on the risk you are willing to take. If the only consideration is out of pocket expenses:

    Option 4 is the cheapest but there is about 20 minutes between arrival and departure. If the train is delayed or slowed down, they will miss the connection.

    Option 1 is the next cheapest but but also has the same risk of missing the connection if the repair takes longer or the train is slowed down.

    Option 3 is the most viable option as there is ample time for delay, slow downs, or other unforeseen issues.