Functioning of railML.org and RailTopoModel
railML – the Railway Mark-Up Language – is an open source data exchange format, which was established in 2002. Since then all development works are community driven, which in detail means that all enhancement proposals come from and are implemented by the community. The railML.org community currently exists of software producers, consultancies, research institutions, train operators and infrastructure managers, predominantly from all over Europe. The development currently takes place in three active working groups: Timetable, Interlocking and Infrastructure.
RailTopoModel on the other hand is a generic topology model for railway infrastructure, which resulted from UIC's ERIM (European Rail Infrastructure Masterplan) project. It was initiated in the year of 2013 and reached its first maturity level in spring 2016, when becoming a UIC norm called IRS 30100 (International Railway Solution). The manpower for this project is generated by the UIC project budget on the one hand and given by participating railway infrastructure managers on the other hand. The development group is called RTM Expert Group.
railML.org and RailTopoModel currently collaborate in the area of infrastructure. The railML.org Infrastructure working group and coordinator - Christian Rahmig - and the RailTopoModel Expert Group equal one another completely. Aim is to further develop the generic model and to create a data exchange format on this basis: railML 3. Additionally an internal data model, following the RailTopoModel, will ease data transfer via railML interfaces to third party systems. Therefore both parties (railML.org and UIC Expert Group) collaborate to ensure the best possible technical interoperability.
The development procedure follows a well-established path. The community gives technical input in the railML or RTM Forum. This is commented and discussed by the scheme coordinator and the further community. Once approved the proposer drafts a use case, which in its final version becomes the basis for further development work. Both forums are available to the public.
railML.org is a member of UIC's ERIM project group along with others, e.g. SNCF Réseau (France), ÖBB Infra (Austria), SBB (Switzerland), Infrabel (Belgium), BaneNOR/Jernbanedirektoratet (Norway), ProRail (Netherlands) and ADIF (Spain). On the other hand UIC is also a member of the railML.org community.