Periodic timetabling is a central aspect of both the long-term organization and the day-to-day operations of a public transportation system. The Periodic Event Scheduling Problem (PESP), the combinatorial optimization problem that forms the mathematical basis of periodic timetabling, is an extremely hard problem, for which optimal solutions are hardly ever found in practice. The
most prominent solving strategies today are based on mixed-integer programming, and there is a concurrent PESP solver employing a wide range of heuristics . We present tropical neighborhood search (tns), a novel PESP heuristic. The method is based on the relations between periodic timetabling and tropical geometry . We implement tns into the concurrent solver, and test it on instances of the benchmarking library PESPlib. The inclusion of tns turns out to be quite beneficial to the solver: tns is able to escape local optima for the modulo network simplex algorithm, and the overall share of improvement coming from tns is substantial compared to the other methods
available in the solver. Finally, we provide better primal bounds for five PESPlib instances.