Hit Rail provides the TAF/TAP TSI Common Interface (CI) middleware and access to the Central Reference Database (CRD) on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis with a fully managed solution. This allows railway companies to connect with their CI remotely, without the need to deploy and operate their own systems or having to train their employees on the management of the CI.
To support European railway cohesion, the European Commission has promoted and set out the definition of the CI and CRD technical specifications - for the exchange of rail messages - under the framework of the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI).
The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) recommends the use of the CI specifications and the CRD for all exchanges between stakeholders, including freight and passenger operators, infrastructure managers, port authorities, wagon keepers and freight forwarders.
The CI software and the CRD are maintained by Rail Net Europe (RNE).
The Common Interface Software as a Service
Hit Rail provides the CI and access to the CRD on a SaaS basis. As a result, railway companies can connect to their own CI remotely, meaning they don’t need to deploy and operate the CI system themselves.
The CI requires a specific software stack, using Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Windows. It also needs to be regularly updated as it requires specific training for configuration and operation.
By using the CI managed by Hit Rail, railway companies simplify the process of TSI compliance, meaning they don’t need to train employees and dedicate them to updating software. These tasks are taken over by Hit Rail under a clear and transparent Service Level Agreement, so companies can focus exclusively on their own application processes.
Depending on the expected usage and message volumes, Hit Rail can provide either a dedicated or a shared solution for the CI service.
The Central Reference Database
The CRD is defined by the ERA TAF and TAP TSI regulation. It contains the codes for countries, companies, primary locations and subsidiary locations to be used in TAF and TAP messages and applications. The CRD is locally replicated in the CI middleware, so that company applications can have access to the reference data or locally export the reference data.
Collaboration with RNE
Hit Rail has an agreement with RNE for the provision of the CI software and CRD licences to rail stakeholders.
Hit Rail operates the CI, and locally synchronises the CRD on behalf of the client, sending or receiving TAF and TAP TSI messages. Hit Rail acts as the nominated facilities manager, handling the management and configuration of the CI software and the CRD.
Who should use this service?
This service is for RUs, IMs and other rail stakeholders currently deploying and operating CI and the CRD within their internal IT systems, who are looking to seamlessly upgrade and outsource the service to proven systems experts.
Hit Rail hosts and manages the CI software and the CRD on its own secure cloud IT infrastructure. The basic CI package includes the following services:
- The Common Interface as a service for both test and production.
- Software maintenance, including updates and patches.
- Connectivity and security, including the certificate for SSL encryption.
- Configuration and management of remote partners, message types and message versions.
- Configuration of internal (legacy) interfaces and routings.
- Synchronisation of the local CRD as managed by RNE.
- Provision for the required message volumes.
Hit Rail offers a fully integrated and proactive service, providing security, stability, and performance. This includes entering into a Service Level Agreement, systems monitoring, incident handling and the provision of a 24/7 helpdesk.
Additional information and documentation on CI software and the CRD can be found on the RNE Common Component System (CCS) web site.
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