Concept 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 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 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 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.


The initiative was founded in early 2002 against the background of the chronic difficulty of connecting different railway IT applications. Its main objective is to enable heterogeneous railway applications to communicate with each other. Today, the connection of various railway software packages is beset with problems. The purpose of the initiative has been to find, discuss and present systematic, XML-based solutions for simplified data exchange between railway applications. 

The railML standard is not the product of a centralised body. Instead it has been developed in a work and discussion process among the involved partners. All interested institutions and businesses are invited to contact us and participate in the initiative.

This website provides additional information on our project. The results of are available for download on this website after subjecting to our licensing conditions. You will find XML schemas, sample data files and the detailed railML specifications.

Comparison without and with railML®
Comparison without and with railML®

Industry Standard vs. Governmental Norm 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 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. is open to transfer the railML standard into a governmental norm if this is desired by the members.