One single connection for business with over 50 European railway partners


Network access

With flexible access options, the Hermes VPN can accomodate any business need, from entry level to heavy use.

Proactive support

Hit Rail's proactive support ensures your applications stay connected and evolve together with your partners'.

Join Hermes

Get in contact with Hit Rail, together we will find the best and most cost-effective solution for your business case.

The Hermes VPN

The Hermes VPN is the foundation for the European Railways’ international applications, becoming the trusted and cost-effective connectivity solution for traditional cross border business among railway partners. Following the introduction of open access and market competition then this is no longer cross border but between local railway operators as well.
43 railway companies and associations use the Hermes VPN to exchange messages for cross-border, business-critical applications. Becoming a member of the Hermes community, and using a single connection, opens the possibility of conducting electronic business with multiple railway partners.
Passenger reservations - using UIC or proprietary protocols -, freight pre-advices and consignment notes, train running and status, wagon search and many other multi-lateral or bi-lateral applications are carried over the Hermes VPN.

A solid telecoms foundation

The Hermes VPN has supported the railways international connectivity for more than 25 years. Originally based on an X.25 network, and presently on an MPLS-based Virtual IP network . The provision of lines is outsourced to BT Global Services. The Hermes network has been constantly evolving to always offer its customers the benefits of the established technologies of the moment.

Currently the Hermes partners can access the network using Ethernet links, dedicated or xDSL lines, and also using IPsec tunnel over the public Internet. The full service, up to the local firewall, including the access links and the local CPE(s), is provided by Hit Rail.

Hermes VPN benefits

  • Secure. The Hermes VPN is a trusted environment supported by a consistent security policy. Each member controls access to the network using its own firewall following the agreed policy. Only valid source and destination addresses are accepted based on access control lists.
  • Flexible. A wide range of connection types and speeds are supported.
  • Meeting Service Level Targets. The solution meets the contracted Service Level Agreements and performance criteria.
  • Open. Based on TCP/IP protocols that allow access to any member with standard networking infrastructure.
  • Neutral. It brings the same benefits to the Hit Rail customers both small and large customers.
  • Not for profit. Hit Rail reviews its prices in agreement with its Customers, aiming to only cover its operational costs.
  • Cost-effective. The solution is price-competitive as compared to point-to-point links even if only a single partner is needed. As partners are added there is no need to add new connection. It is significantly more reliable than using the Internet.

A collaborative framework

As well as operating the Hermes VPN, Hit Rail also suppors the coordination among its members of all technical specifications for the use of the network, including IP addressing scheme and the TCP/IP-based protocols used for each application. It provides a higher level series of other technical specifications that sustain the e-business among the Hermes partners.

The body that coordinates all Hermes related specifications and activities is the GPH: Groupe de Project Hermes, a forum that brings together representatives from all connected partners to regular meetings hosted by the partners themselves. The GPH meets two or three times each year and is open to all customers. It keeps all the members informed of both trends in telecommunications and news on railway application developments