Concept

railML.org is an initiative that supports the further development of the open-source railway markup language railML. Like every open-source software the railML schemes are generally characterized by peer production, availability of source code and documentation, which is available to the public at no cost. All of these attributes are fulfilled since 2002 by the railML.org initiative.

Due to the complexity of railway data and the many syntactic differences among the railways, software using the railML format have to be certified. The certification ensures the quality of the railML interfaces and brings no additional costs except the one-time certification.

The aim of railML.org is to fulfil the needs of interested railways, for infrastructure managers as well as railway undertakings, in mainintaing an International Industry standard for railway data exchange. Therefore the further development of railML takes place in working groups of experts in the area of railway software, data modelling and IT experts. The working groups are defined by the four different subschemas of railML. Each working group meets separately once every two to three months to discuss content issues and further development steps. The whole railML community meets twice a year in official railML.org conferences. The spring conference is mainly addressed at the German speaking community and therefore takes place in a German speaking country of Europe. The autumn conference usually takes place in Paris and addresses the international railML community. This conference is generally held in English language. For more information about dates of our conferences and working group meetings see our event schedule.

Industry Standard vs. Governmental Norm

railML.org is an industry association, driven by its members. This means that also the data exchange format railML® is an industry driven standard used by a wide range of railways, computer programmes and projects. All development work at railML.org takes place according to the bottom-up principle, which guarantees that all reported industry needs are taken into account and can be implemented in a quick and long lasting way. Examples for successful and widespread industry standards are USB (Universial Serial Bus), Bluetooth or GSM (Global Systems for Moblie Communications)

Governmental norms, e.g. ISO or CEN, on the other hand are developed by expert groups and afterwards implemented top-down. Governmental institutions, who are not necessarily align with industry needs, develop and publish norms, which afterwards shall be implemented by the industry. Problems might accure as the industry voice is not in primary focus during the development processes and the process is dependend of governmental rules and lifecycles.

railML.org is open to transfer the railML standard into a governmental norm if this is desired by the members.

Financial Matters

railML.org coordinates the railML related work and is therefore not a business entity. Even though UIC, various railways, software developers and other organisations support the idea of a free, common and unique data exchange model and schema for the railway sector generously some services cannot be provided for free to the community.

A short overview of free, charged and offered services by railML.org in the railML domain is provided below:

Free of charge:

  • Access to the railML schemes (see licence terms)
  • Usage of railML schemes in a software or service
    (your software vendor may charge for implementation a maintenance contract or updates, railML.org will not)
  • Access to internal information and data via user account at www.railML.org
  • Membership as railML.org partner (supporter, user or developer)
  • Access and usage rights for testing purposes of railML sample data
  • Access to the railML.org forum
    (web editing rights will be granted on request for experienced users or long term contributors)
  • Access to the railML.org wiki
    (editing rights will be granted on request for experienced users or long term contributors)
  • Submission of railML 2.x and 3.x schemes extension proposals
  • Participation at railML.org conferences and events
    (thanks to individual sponsoring of railML.org partners; all travel costs and expenses will not reimbursed)
  • Usage of railVIVID: The railML viewer and validator - powered by UIC
  • Essential informationabout railML, railML.org, the usage of railML and best practices by phone, forum or by mail

Payment required:

  • Consulting by railML.org experts regarding best practice of data management/exchange strategy
  • Acquirement of mandatory certification for software or railML interface prior to usage
  • Costs for cease and desist warnings and legal fees caused by improper use of railML.org intellectual property and violation of license terms

railML.org does not offer:

  • Implementation of railML export or import interfaces in a software or service
    (these services will be provided by a software programmer or vendor only, railML.org does not develop software [except railVIVID freeware])
  • Access to railML timetable, infrastructure, interlocking or rollingstock databases
    (these services will be provided by a IM, RU or other party only, railML.org does not have railway databases [except railML examples])

Feel free to contact railML.org for further explanations, questions and remarks at any time.