Passenger Reservations Translator

Heros Solutions - H01 Passenger reservations Translator


Seat reservations across European railway networks have traditionally been delivered via the protocol defined in the UIC IRS 90918-1, later becoming part of TAP TSI. This binary format, exchanged over IBM MQ, was widely adopted as the European standard, but it is now technically outdated and requires specialized personnel and tools for its maintenance - along with the corresponding financial costs.

UIC later defined a SOAP WS / XML version of the 90918-1 specification, which is easier to develop and maintain. However, its implementation was challenging, as no translator existed between the binary and the XML versions.

Recently XML v2 was defined, including the transmission of personal data and supporting graphical reservation of seats.

The Translator solution

Hit Rail offers the Passenger Reservations Translator as part of its cloud IT services.

This Translator acts as middleware between partners, seamlessly translating in real time between IBM MQ and WS and between the old and new formats. Operators no longer need to worry about different settings across the industry; the Passenger Reservations Translator reliably and securely takes care of message delivery.

The Passenger Reservations Translator becomes the single system to which to communicate, regardless of the formats and type of channel used by each partner. Having one single connection to all passenger railways brings about an enormous operative advantage over having to maintain multiple connections and interfaces.

Who can benefit?

  • Passenger RUs entering the market with new train reservation systems
  • Passenger RUs hosted in an external reservation system who want to develop their own solution
  • Passenger RUs who want to upgrade from binary 90918-1, and want to avoid investing resources in keeping the old format running

Technical solution

The Passenger Reservations Translator has been deployed on the Hit Rail private cloud on Amazon AWS. A reservation system needs to be connected to the Hermes VPN to access the Translator

The Passenger Reservations Translator offers developers two additional tools to help clients develop, debug and test their new systems:

  • Boomerang: A web application that allows users to send validated XML test messages to their own reservation application, simulating a partner reservation system.
  • Rosetta: An online tool that translates and validates reservation messages from binary 918 to XML and vice versa, which helps programmers check their seat reservation applications.

Organisational issues

The customer must be a member of the community of European reservation systems, managed by the UIC working groups REG and TAP-MD. Hit Rail’s experts closely cooperate with these groups, and can help any RU new entrant to the market to join that community.

Reference documents

  • Passenger Reservations Translator manuals available from Hit Rail