Linking the European Railways’ International Applications

Enabling Connectivity and Interoperability

Helping the railways

Hit Rail B.V. is a private limited liability company with registered office in Utrecht, The Netherlands, established in1990 by 10 national railways. Presently it is owned by 12 European railway companies, while Hit Rail services are used by more than 60 railway companies from 28 countries.
Hit Rail is responsible for managing the international Hermes data communications infrastructure. Its purpose is to help the European railway companies to carry out international projects in related fields of data communications and information technology.
All Hit Rail's customers data centres and company networks are interconnected by a pan-European IP (internet Protocol) based VPN (Virtual Private Network) named HERMES VPN, which is supplied by British Telecom (BT) and managed by Hit Rail.

Enabling business co-operation

Most of the railway business requirements in the international freight, passenger and infrastructure markets are consistent with the need for greater cooperation, especially given the ongoing emergence of more national operators and more infrastructure owners.
The case for open standards and common methods of interfacing is therefore paramount. Hit Rail believes e-commerce is the standard means of doing business.
Relevant and efficient IP based Data Communication services are vital to support railway business processes. These services should allow for flexible application interactions and provide a collaborative environment when needed.

Vision & Strategy

A railway is first and foremost a business, with the ability to exploit commercial and technological opportunities to meet the demand of its customers. Like all businesses, a railway cannot operate independently of other businesses within its own and in related sectors.

Railways as successful commercial operations depend critically upon a stable, robust, cost-competitive and interoperable IT infrastructure. An individual railway cannot meet all the cross border requirements for ICT on its own.

Hit Rail’s strategy is to build the Hermes Ecosystem as a network of stakeholders including customers, business partners and other interested parties in each of the railway markets (passengers, freight and infrastructure).

Another important pillar of Hit Rail´s strategy is building business alliances with major railway and transport related services players, organisations and institutions. In this context, Hit Rail is collaborating with other international railway organisations such as Raildata and UIC, with EU institutions such as DG Move and the EU Agency for Railways in order to bring interoperability to the railways. These collaborations add value to the Hermes Ecosystem, leveraging on Hit Rail’s unique position and capabilities in the European railway environment.


Hit Rail combines railways specific expertise and extensive experience in railway ICT projects. Its current management structure is compound of the Management Board and the Supervisory Board.

Management Board

Antonio E. López General Manager

Hans van Walsem Corporate Director

Supervisory Board

Frédéric Novello Chairman

Arjen Boersma

Edmund Buchbinder

Petr Cervinka


The following 12 European railway companies own Hit Rail:

The Hermes Ecosystem

Hit Rail’s services (the Hermes VPN and the HEROS platform) are offered as common services for interoperability and provide the key building blocks for cooperation in railway international applications.

Hit Rail is introducing the European Railway community to the interoperability with the Hermes VPN and the HEROS applications. Hit Rail’s strategy is to support the priorities of interoperability and enabling railway cooperation.

In this context, Hit Rail’s strategy is to build the Hermes Ecosystem as a network of stakeholders including customers, business partners and other interested parties in each of the railway markets (passengers, freight and infrastructure).

The Hermes Ecosystem, as a framework for collaborating railways around key services, concerning:

  1. meeting the need for interoperable international applications in the railway sector,
  2. meeting the need to reduce costs and complexity and
  3. meeting the need to comply with EU directives, especially the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI).

But the Hermes Ecosystem is not only about interoperability linked to TSI, it is also about the big picture of the evolution of Cloud Computing as the latest wave of the Interoperability Challenge.

The evolution of the Hermes Ecosystem towards the Cloud paradigm (the HEROS Cloud) is a logical step technically, and will put the stakeholders in a good position to anticipate what is surely coming in business terms.

Hit Rail, as a key player to facilitate the railways to reach those goals, is well positioned to build collaborative networks and work together via the Hermes Ecosystem.