On 19 April, the UIC hosted over 80 stakeholders at the 6th joint RailTopoModel and railML conference in Paris, announcing the delivery and publication of a new International Rail Standard 30100 (IRS) for RailTopoModel (RTM). The RTM, tightly coupled with the railML standard, serves as an integral tool to structure and facilitate the exchange of rail infrastructure data, leading to greater efficiency, cost reduction and quality improvement of the rail system.
UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux opened the meeting and warmly welcomed the participants. He stated that since 1922, the UIC has been in the forefront of creating voluntary standards leading to rail interoperability and hailed the publication of this IRS as a “perfect example of how the UIC is able to facilitate interoperability of digital content, particularly relevant for achieving the gains expected with the implementation of the Digital Single European Railway Area.” He added that the UIC is actively addressing digitalisation topics for rail interoperability within this project as well as other in areas through the UIC Digital Platform.
The RailTopoModel is an industry standard that provides a foundation for digital continuity and collaboration amongst Infrastructure Managers. It clearly defines business objects and the relations between those objects. It is independent of any specific usage and therefore can be used by any stakeholder or application. It is designed to be the foundation for the virtualisation of a railway system, its life cycle and operations. Both IMs and Application Developers can use the model to easily create cost-effective software and GIS offerings.
The release of the railML version 3.1 was also announced at the conference. It will be published in autumn 2016 and revolutionise the transfer of infrastructure data. railML formats provide fast, accurate and efficient exchange of data between companies with their industrial suppliers, railway regulators and other authorities, based on the principles contained in the RTM. railML.org was founded in early 2002 to address the difficulty of connecting different IT applications. It delivers a universally applicable data exchange format, greatly reducing the number of interfaces needed for data exchange between railway applications.
Two important tools to facilitate interoperability of railway data were also presented at the conference:
- Quality Toolbox to check the quality and consistency of railML files
- Geographical Data Viewer in order to visualise railML files
RTM and railML are under permanent development and extension. Extensions for interlocking will be addressed in 2017. The next RailTopoModel conference will take place on 3 November 2016 in Paris (UIC headquarters).
Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, gave a short speech during the conference:
Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues and Friends,
I am happy to welcome all of you to this 6th railML Conference at UIC.
You probably remember through my previous words of welcome the importance I personally give to data interoperability. Interoperability has been UIC’s raison d’être since its creation in 1922. Interoperability goes beyond technology – whether rolling stock, signalling or infrastructure. It is also administrative, legal, fiscal, and now covers data interchange.
This data can also be used for geography and topology, which is the purpose of RailML, which can have transverse applications for security, operation, maintenance, and asset management.
Rail has lived through three revolutions. The first revolution in the 19th century saw the steam engine which created railways – which in turn created the development of the manufacturing industries.
The second part of the 20th century saw oil dependence and the oil crisis, which was the boost for the development of new technology and high speed technology.
And now in this 21st century we are now living in the digital era. Digital technology has strong implications for productivity, services and security, and these are precisely the three main objectives of our recently established UIC digital platform.
In addition to these key objectives of interoperability in the areas of research, innovation and dissemination, UIC is known for delivering International Railway Standards (IRS), and this again since 1922. More than 700 have been produced. So here we have the intersection of standards in the digital context and this can refer to the IRS 30100 which could be an excellent symbol of the pragmatic approach that we want to collectively adopt.
I will not report now on the digital survey of the European Commission because we have the pleasure and honour of having Kathrin Obst here with us, who will give the real keynote speech and who will remind us that digitalisation should be driven by the sector, as well as the role, position and importance of UIC in our production of voluntary railway standards.