39th railML Conference

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Due to the unchanged situation, the 39th German-speaking railML conference was once again held virtually on April 21st, 2021. But again, more than 70 participants from all over the world took the chance to get more insights into the work at railML. It was a great opportunity to meet and exchange about schema updates and current projects.

The morning

The conference was opened by Governance Coordinator Vasco Paul Kolmorgen, who stood in for the other railML Governance Coordinator Dr. Nadia Hürlimann, who was unfortunately unable to attend.

As everyone knows, 2020 was a turbulent year for all and also for the railML development. Therefore, the first presentation was an update on the release timeline. The March news article give more insighty on this. He also held the presentation about updates in the railML wiki.

The next part of the conference was an update of the ontology working group given by Stefan Bischof from Siemens Austria. He reported about the working methods and current projects and invited all interested to join the group.

Several other experts from industry supported us by giving insight into how and why they use railML in their companies. One of them was Eva Lohmeier from Knorr-Bremse Munich/Germany. After an interesting look into Knorr-Bremse and their Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) in Europe, she also talked about a possible DAS use case for railML that is currently in progress.

This was followed by some updates from the the railML coordinators. Milan Wölke, timetable coordinator, kicked things off: parts of his presentation on railML 2.5 were updates on the two use cases passenger information systems and slot ordering, as well as other recent changes and the release schedule: The planned release is June 12th, 2021. For railML 3.2, he gave an update on the TMS use case and current modeling. He emphasized how important the input from the community is.

In the meantime, a new use case idea has surfaced: Duty Roster. railML is excited to work with interested individuals from the community on this project! If you would like to participate, please let us know.

Updates on the rollingstock schema by the coordinator Dr. Jörg von Lingen followed. For version 2.5, work is currently paused as there are no further requests from the community. Version 3.2 is driven by the needs of timetable and is only developed according to those use cases. One change here is the new concept of “vehicle” and “vehiclePart” for the PISY use case.

The afternoon

After a 45-minute lunch break, everyone was back, and the next speakers were waiting in the wings. The next coordinator was Thomas Nygreen from the Common Schema. He gave an update on the current changes in the railML 3.x and 2.5. For the former, the main topics were the remodeled organizational units, handling changes between minor versions, and type identifiers. In 2.5, it was mainly <designator> for organizational units. To keep development close to the needs of the community, he added several surveys to get an opinion on specific topics. The results will be published in an upcoming news article.

Infrastructure coordinator Christian Rahmig provided extensive insight into the work on this schema. For version 3.2, the working group is focusing on four use cases: ETCS Track Net Description, Integrated Traffic Management, Schematic Track Plan, and Track Geometry.

This was followed by another interesting presentation by an industry representative: Thomas Kabisch from Stadler Germany. After an introduction about Stadler Germany, he told the audience about their use of railML: The Passenger Information System, where data about routes and trips are stored. They have some ideas for extensions for the next version. This is a good example of how railML works: After input from the community, a process is started that includes forum contributions and working group meetings until the end result is a use case that meets the needs of the community.

Last but not least, Vasco Paul Kolmorgen reported on news from the community and railML. After some general information about the work of railML as an organization, he told the audience about several aspects that have changed in the last year. One of them is that railML developed a membership model: There are three membership categories with different services - The fees depend on size, type and entitiy. But please note, that the basic membership is and always will be for free!

To get a better picture of that the community needs and thinks, there was a small poll at the end. The results will be published as a news article very soon! Thank you very much to everyone who participated in the poll.

In the end, railML.org is more than happy that another conference was successfully held virtually. For this we have to thank the hard work, ideas and motivation of the coordinators, stakeholders and community members. In particular, we thank everyone who gave a presentation and shared their knowledge, experience, and time with the audience.

Next conferences

The next English-language conference is scheduled for November 3, 2021, in Gothenburg, Sweden. More information and registration will be posted on the railML website. The next German-language conference is planned for Spring 2022.

We look forward to seeing you at the next event!

As always, feedback from the community is very welcome. The conference slides are available for download on the event page.

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