Differential Evolution (DE) is a very simple but powerful Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) for real-world applications. There are two aspects affecting the overall optimization performance significantly, one is parameter control scheme and the other is trial vector generation strategy. As all the control parameters are employed in generating trial vectors, from this perspective of view, the trial vector generation strategy dominates the overall optimization performance. Therefore, trial vector generation strategies are often designed first, and then the corresponding parameter control schemes are well-tuned thereafter. Both of them constitute the main body of a new DE variant. Here in the paper, a novel DE variant with a new designed trial vector generation strategy as well as novel parameter control scheme is proposed to tackle freight trains scheduling problem. By incorporating both a time-stamp mechanism of the external archive and a novel parameter control scheme, the new algorithm can secure better optimization performance not only on man-made benchmarks but also on real-world applications. Both the man-made benchmarks from Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC) test suite and the real-world freight train scheduling problem are employed in the validation of the new DE variant. The experiment results show that it is competitive with other state-of-the-art DE techniques for these optimization problems.