Friday 9 July 2021

Successful Digital Modelling Workshop

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The workshop on UIC Digital Modelling initiatives for the operational railway was held remotely on 30 June, with 100 participants from all over the world. Participants came from railways, industry, and international and European institutions.

The webinar focused on the RailSystemModel (RSM) 1.2 release update and the OntoRail project.

RailSystemModel and OntoRail are two UIC projects on digital modelling of the railway system, aimed at enabling synergies and digital continuity around a common digital system model usable across railway domains and business processes.

François Davenne, Director General of UIC, opened the workshop by highlighting the collective nature of the process. “What you are starting to implement shows us a glimpse of the future. Ultimately, all these modelling initiatives should provide a complete view of the rail system. We are carrying out the groundwork that will make Digital Twins possible and, in addition, enable the massive use of AI to develop digital services. We collectively need to deliver the right tools – not one single model, but a framework that will lead the industry. Thanks to its neutrality, UIC is the right place for this work.”

François Davenne also briefly presented the challenges of OntoRail, explaining that OntoRail was essentially an encyclopaedia to consolidate and enrich railway system modelling knowledge. Designed as a tool to promote and facilitate convergence and federation between models, it was a knowledge engine powered by ontologies made available to support sectorial initiatives, such as LinX4Rail.

He ended his remarks saying: “UIC is paving the way to Digital Twins, thanks to the implementation of these digital tools.”

The first session was dedicated to UIC Digital Modelling initiatives and provided participants the opportunity to learn more about the fundamentals of RailSystemModel 1.2 (successor to RailTopoModel 1.1) and OntoRail.

The second session was an opportunity to discuss the perspectives offered by these initiatives. Pierre Tane outlined the roles of RailSystemModel & OntoRail as enablers of the LinX4Rail’s Conceptual Data Model and the possible use of RailSystemModel to support migration studies for the migration from GSM-R to FRMCS. Gilles Dessagne from SNCF Réseau provided insights from the perspective of an infrastructure manager on how common digital models could support efforts towards building a Digital Twin for railway operation. Dr Bob Janssen, EULYNX information modeller, explained the role of RailSystemModel as part of Eulynx’s data preparation and demonstrated how this could translate into practical tooling.

The second session concluded with insights into future areas of development for RailSystemModel and OntoRail.

Closing remarks were given by Pierre-Etienne Gautier, Directeur du programme BIM et continuité numérique, SNCF Réseau and LinX4Rail coordinator. He underlined the high potential ahead for the use of ontologies as a key enabler for federating models to save time, cost and effort. He said: “It is promising. We have the industry on board. AI could be leveraged to combine models in order to achieve a better representation of the railway system.”

For further information, please contact Pierre Tane at

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