News

Save the Date for the CyberSecurity4Rail Conference: 4th October 2017 "Helping European Railways build Digital Security through Cooperation". Hit Rail is organising a conference to discuss the current status and future developments in digital security within the railway industry. The conference will be organised on 4th October 2017 (Wedensday) in Brussels. More details shall be published soon. 22 Feb 2017
Hit Rail signs new contract with Dutch railway NS to provide enhanced rail connectivity between Netherlands and Belgium Hit Rail’s Hermes VPN provides enhanced connectivity for improved passenger information and reservation services for NS and partners

Utrecht/Brussels, 21 February 2017 – International rail connectivity specialist Hit Rail B.V. has signed a three-year contract with Dutch railway operator NS to improve and upgrade its connectivity with other rail organisations through use of Hit Rail’s MPLS-based Hermes VPN (Virtual Private Network). The agreement also covers the migration of the company’s connectivity with international ticketing joint venture BeNe Rail International to the Hermes VPN.

Under the agreement, Hit Rail already helped with the relocation of NS’s routers to two new sites in Amsterdam and Apeldoorn set up to provide 6Mbps Ethernet links from each site to the Hermes VPN. At the same time, work was carried out to upgrade the connection of BeNe Rail International in Brussels with 6Mbps Ethernet links via the Infrabel network, with migration of its data traffic to the Hermes VPN. Once these works have been completed all three organisations will benefit from a robust and open connectivity solution with built-in redundancy and future-proofing.

Access to Hit Rail’s Hermes VPN services will ensure the three Benelux rail organisations have the best possible message interoperability for passenger reservations in-country and internationally. The Hermes VPN is already the connectivity choice for all railway reservation systems in Europe using the UIC 918 international reservations protocol, including, amongst others, ResaRail, EPA, Thalys and Eurostar. The enhanced service for NS, together with the connection of BeNe to Hermes, opens up a vast pool of reservation opportunities for passengers within the region and throughout Europe.

NS is the principal railway operator in the Netherlands for passenger traffic. NS runs 4,800 scheduled domestic trains a day, serving 1.2 million passengers. It also provides international rail services from the Netherlands to other European destinations. Infrabel is the infrastructure manager of the railways in Belgium and BeNe Rail International is a joint venture between NMBS (Belgian Rail) and NS, created to manage the sales and distribution of international and high speed train tickets and help shape the Dutch and Belgian rail systems.

The Hermes VPN, already used by NS and Infrabel, was the logical way forward for NS, BeNe and Infrabel because of its reliability, performance and security and the fact that it is used by so many of Europe’s rail operators, enhancing connectivity and interoperability for all.

Erik Dekkers of NS said: “We have been working with Hit Rail for many years and wanted to upgrade our services and connectivity to enable a greater use of the service. Hermes is already widely used throughout the European passenger rail system for reservations and international messaging so it made sense to recommend that BeNe should also migrate to the VPN.”

Antonio Lopez, General Manager of Hit Rail, added: “This is an excellent solution for NS and its partners - we are pleased that all three organisations have chosen to connect to our Hermes VPN and have therefore been provided with enhanced connectivity, delivering better information and reservation services to their passengers.”

Press enquiries Hit Rail: Sheila Lashford Splash PR Tel: +44 (0) 7986 514240 sheila@splash-pr.biz

About Hit Rail B.V. Hit Rail B.V. is a private Dutch company created in 1990 and owned by 12 European railway companies. Its purpose is to help European railway companies to carry out international projects in related fields of data communications and information technology. Hit Rail is responsible for managing international private data communications infrastructure and message brokering services on behalf of its shareholders and customers. Its services are used by some 40 railway companies from 21 countries. All Hit Rail customers’ data centres and company networks are interconnected by a pan-European IP-based VPN (Virtual Private Network) named Hermes VPN, which is supplied by British Telecom (BT) and managed by Hit Rail. In 2013 the company launched its HEROS platform as a family of solutions that delivers benefits to the railway companies across Europe, by enabling message interoperability across disparate platforms between railway applications in passenger, freight and infrastructure for IT communications.

For more information please visit http://www.hitrail.com/ or send an email to info@hitrail.com.

21 Feb 2017
Official start in November for ST4RT rail interoperability project funded by Shift2Rail Shift2Rail-funded project will work towards harmonising differing rail data systems to improve interoperability

Brussels, 19 December 2016 – A new project funded by a €1M grant, after successfully answering to an Open Call of Shift2Rail (S2R-OC-IP4-02-2016), was launched in November with the aim of harmonising the language and data formats used by many railway operators across Europe. ST4RT (Semantic Transformations for Rail Transportation) is the result of an eight-member consortium, coordinated by UNIFE. As one of the main partners of the project, Hit Rail will provide its HEROS platform as a web services interface for some of the work packages and will work alongside its consortium partners including CEFRIEL, D’Appolonia, OLTIS Group, Politecnico di Milano, Trenitalia and UIC.

The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking is a European rail initiative promoting research and innovation into new rail product solutions. The ST4RT project is expected to contribute significantly to Shift2Rail’s Horizon 2020 initiative and more specifically to the 4th Innovation Programme (IT Solutions for Attractive Railway Services), aimed at developing interoperability technologies for multimodal travel solutions towards the goal of achieving the Single European Railway Area (SERA).

ST4RT will make use of components from the Shift2Rail Interoperability Framework (IF) initially developed in the IT2Rail “lighthouse” project, extending it for use in the related Shift2Rail projects under the “Shopping, booking and ticketing of multimodal travel solutions (S2R-CFM-IP4-01-2015)” and “Travel companion and tracking services (S2R-CFM-IP4-02-2015)” IP4 calls, called Co-Active and ATTRACkTIVE respectively. ST4RT will additionally provide a use case scenario for exercising the Governance and management structure developed in another project under the related “IF Governance (S2R-OC-IP4-01-2016)” IP4 Open Call called GoF4R. The participants, some of which are also involved in the original consortium of designers for the IF in IT2Rail, will perform work organised in specific work packages focused on fundamental industrial research in semantic web technologies.

A cornerstone of the project will be Work Package 5 “Pilot demonstrator of IF Converters,” where a demonstrator will be used to prove the validity and effectiveness of the semantic analysis conducted in the project. The demonstrator will make use of the HEROS platform provided by Hit Rail, a tool presenting a web services interface capable of exchanging XML booking messages, and of converting them into the formats defined by Technical Document B.5 of TAP TSI.

Antonio Lopez, General Manager of Hit Rail, said: “We are delighted that work has now started on the ST4RT project which will contribute significantly to improving rail services across Europe. Hit Rail looks forward to providing full support through our HEROS platform and through the work our team will do alongside our partners in the consortium.”

Press enquiries Hit Rail: Sheila Lashford, Splash PR, Tel: +44 (0) 7986 514240, sheila@splash-pr.biz

19 Dec 2016
BENE traffic migrated to the Hermes VPN BENE is passenger application, connecting NS International and SNCB. The sites are located in Amsterdam/Apeldoorn (NS) and in Brussels (SNCB). In the past the sites were interconnected through two international dedicated lines. On 2nd October 2016 at 4 am the BENE traffic migrated to the Hermes VPN. 3 Oct 2016
Hit Rail proudly welcomes Shift2Rail’s decision towards funding of ST4RT project Utrecht/Brussels, 21st June 2016 – A new project aimed at harmonising the language and data formats used by different railway operators in their systems has been granted initial approval towards funding by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, a European rail initiative promoting research and innovation into new rail product solutions. The project, titled ST4RT (Semantic Transformations for Rail Transportation), was submitted by an eight-member consortium, coordinated by UNIFE. In addition to Hit Rail, which has one of the largest budget shares, the project also brings together partners like Trenitalia, Oltis Group, CEFRIEL, UIC, Politecnico di Milano and D’Appolonia.

The announcement was made following an evaluation process by independent experts and is a significant step towards achieving the € 1 million grant that will enable work to commence later in the year. It gives the ST4RT consortium the go-ahead to prepare final grant documentation within 6 weeks, with a final decision expected around October.

The ST4RT project is expected to contribute significantly to Shift2Rail’s Horizon 2020 initiative and more specifically to the 4th Innovation Programme (IT Solutions for Attractive Railway Services), aimed at developing interoperability technologies for multimodal travel solutions towards the goal of achieving the Single European Railway Area (SERA).

ST4RT will make use of components from the Shift2Rail Interoperability Framework (IF) developed in the IT2Rail “lighthouse” project, extending it for use in related Shift2Rail projects under the “Shopping, booking and ticketing of multimodal travel solutions (S2R-CFM-IP4-01-2015)” and “Travel companion and tracking services (S2R-CFM-IP4-02-2015)” IP4 calls. The project will additionally provide a use case scenario for exercising the Governance and management structure developed under the related “IF Governance (S2R-OC-IP4-01-2016)” IP4 Open Call. The participants, some of which are also involved in the original consortium of designers for the IF in IT2Rail, will perform work organised in specific work packages focused on fundamental industrial research in semantic web technologies.

A cornerstone of the project will be Work Package 5 “Pilot demonstrator of IF Converters,” where a demonstrator will be used to prove the validity and effectiveness of the semantic analysis conducted in the previous work packages. The demonstrator will make use of the HEROS platform provided by Hit Rail, a tool presenting a web services interface capable of exchanging XML booking messages, and of converting them into the formats defined by Technical Document B.5 of TAP TSI.

Antonio Lopez, General Manager of Hit Rail, said: “This is a major step forward and validation of our efforts as part of the ST4RT consortium and we look forward to working on the final documentation for Shift2Rail and also to the project work itself hopefully later in the year. The Hit Rail team will be working hard alongside our partners to make this a positive outcome.”

Press enquiries Hit Rail: Sheila Lashford Splash PR Tel: +44 (0) 7986 514240 sheila@splash-pr.biz

21 Jun 2016
Hit Rail joins travel industry’s FSM Sounding Board Hit Rail B.V., one of Europe’s leading organisations spearheading the drive towards interoperability within the railway and travel industry, has joined the FSM Sounding Board, the body where important stakeholders are kept informed on the progress of the Full Service Model (FSM).

The FSM is a joint travel industry initiative aiming to define the specifications for standard interfaces, using cutting-edge technologies, to enhance rail booking opportunities. The FSM initiative is being developed by experts from European Railway Undertakings and from Ticket Vendors grouped in the representative bodies ETTSA (European Technology and Travel Services Association) and ECTAA (European Travel Agents’ and Tours Operators’ Associations).

Hit Rail, having signed a strategic partnership with ETTSA, has now been invited by the FSM Steering Committee to join the FSM Sounding Board, which meets quarterly approximately and currently consists of IATA (International Air Transport Association), CIT (International Rail Transport Committee), the European Passenger Federation, the European Commission and the European Railway Agency.

As part of the FSM Sounding Board, Hit Rail will contribute its expertise in innovation and technology, particularly around interoperability. The company operates the HEROS message interoperability service through its Hermes Virtual Private Network (VPN), a platform that allows rail reservation systems to interconnect and interoperate despite using different standards.

Christoph Klenner, Secretary General of ETTSA, said: “We are delighted to welcome Hit Rail to the FSM Sounding Board and look forward to the expertise they can contribute in terms of interoperability and innovation.”

Antonio Lopez, Managing Director of Hit Rail, added: “The Full Service Model is an important initiative for the travel industry in providing enhanced passenger information and services, including travel reservations. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the information exchange and debate, and also to provide advice and expertise from our practical implementation of interoperability solutions in the rail industry.”

1 Feb 2016
Hit Rail and ETTSA agree strategic partnership

ETTSA, the travel technology industry association representing travel distributors and global distribution systems, and Hit Rail B.V., one of Europe’s leading organisations spearheading the drive towards interoperability, have concluded a cooperation agreement to help further joint initiatives in the travel industry, especially the promotion of the Full Service Model (FSM) initiative in the railway sector.

For detail please see the attached Press release. 

6 Oct 2015
Hit Rail celebrates 25 years of European rail cooperation

Created to help railways interconnect, Hit Rail has been enabling Connectivity and Interoperability for the railways of Europe for 25 years

 Utrecht/Brussels/York 09 September 2015 – European Rail interoperability expert Hit Rail B.V. has achieved a major milestone in its history as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. The occasion was marked with a workshop and dinner held at the National Railway Museum in York in the UK and attended by senior representatives of many European railway undertakings (RUs) and infrastructure managers (IMs).

 The workshop not only covered the history of the last 25 years but also looked forward to the fully interoperable railway of the future and the changes and benefits that could be delivered in a railway that becomes fully digital. Workshop participants were able to ask an expert panel questions and later enjoyed a dinner in the National Railway Museum surrounded by many of the iconic trains from yesteryear. A guided tour of the delights of the historic city of York was arranged to culminate the event.

 Hit Rail is one of the leading organisations spearheading the drive towards interoperability throughout the European railway industry. It was founded in 1990 in response to the need for renewal of the Hermes network connecting 11 of Europe’s railways. Originally formed to provide a coordinated and professionally managed International railway data communications network. Its role has developed over the years to encompass and support the new trends in IT and technology. These include the IP/VPN revolution, structural changes within the railway and transport industries in Europe and the growing requirements of the European Union for interoperability.

 Today Hit Rail is at the forefront of railway ICT initiatives and has a clear strategy to enable and facilitate a more effective, collaborative and value-for-money railway environment. The organisation is aligned with EU policy objectives and works closely with the main international bodies in the rail sector, including ERA (European Rail Association) and Raildata, with new cooperation agreements set to be announced shortly.

 During the workshop a keynote speech was given by Patrick Bossert, Transformation Director of the Digital Railway programme, funded by GB's Network Rail. Talking about the future of the rail industry and the importance of IT initiatives in accelerating the drive towards modernisation, Patrick Bossert said: “Across Europe we see the potential for digital technology to enable more trains, better connections and greater convenience for passengers. It's about making more effective use of what we have today, rather than building new - we have the potential to realise up to 40% more capacity from our existing rail networks. Achieving this, however, isn't easy.  It needs interoperability, and it needs the ability to migrate easily from the old 'proprietary' world of systems and data to the new.”

 Hit Rail is a private company owned by 12 European infrastructure managers and railway undertakings and is constituted as a non-profit oriented company. Its flagship service, HEROS (HERmes Open Services), is a multi-channel open service platform for rail interoperability and is designed to solve problems caused by lack of interoperability between railways’ IT systems. It is a classic middle ware approach that provides connectivity allowing railways to migrate their IT systems at their own pace, using open standards and market-proven technologies and in compliance with the objectives of the EU’s TAP and TAF TSIs.

 “Our aim is to provide affordable solutions to the railway community,” explains Antonio Lopez, Hit Rail’s Managing Director. “We have a vast experience in railway interoperability issues and have developed international expertise and prestige in complex Pan-European projects, providing an environment open to all railway players.”

 For the future, Hit Rail is continuing to integrate its interoperability services, the Hermes VPN and the HEROS platform into the Hermes Ecosystem. The aim is to build the Hermes Ecosystem as a network of collaborative companies including customers, business partners and other interested parties in each of the railway markets, passengers, freight and infrastructure. The ecosystem will then be able to deliver interoperable international applications, reductions in cost and complexity for TSI and compliance with EU mandates including TSI.

“After 25 years we are still only just beginning,” says Helmut Grohmann, Hit Rail’s Chairman. “We are still full of ideas and, with the many long-term and new relationships we have formed and our continuously growing customer base, the future still looks extremely bright for Hit Rail and our Hermes Ecosystem.”

 

 About Hit Rail B.V.

 

Hit Rail B.V. is a private Dutch company created in 1990 and owned by 12 European railway companies. Its purpose is to help European railway companies to carry out international projects in related fields of data communications and information technology. Hit Rail is responsible for managing international private data communications infrastructure and message brokering services on behalf of its shareholders and customers. Its services are used by some 40 railway companies from 21 countries. All Hit Rail customers’ data centres and company networks are interconnected by a pan-European IP-based VPN (Virtual Private Network) named Hermes VPN, which is supplied by British Telecom (BT) and managed by Hit Rail. In 2013 the company launched its HEROS message interoperability service which aims to enable interoperability across disparate platforms in railway companies across Europe.

 

For more information please visit or send an email to info@hitrail.com.

28 Aug 2015
Hit Rail opens Brussels office to address work with European institutions and international rail organisations

Hit Rail opens Brussels office to address work with European institutions and international rail organisations

TSI regulations fuel the need for closer cooperation across Europe

Utrecht/Brussels 18 September 2015 – Hit Rail B.V., one of Europe’s leading organisations spearheading the drive towards interoperability between railway operators across the continent, has recently opened a representative office in Brussels to enable it to work more closely and effectively with European institutions and other railway organisations. 

Located in the Avenue des Arts 53, Hit Rail’s new office occupies the same building as several other railway interest groups, including the seat of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and representative offices of the International Union of Railways (UIC), the Polish State Railways (PKP), Austrian Federal Railways (OeBB) and other rail bodies. Hit Rail already works closely with all these bodies and the new office will help to promote this cooperation. The close proximity to other European Union institutions is also a major advantage.

Hit Rail is itself a representative body for the rail industry. It was established in 1990 by 12 of Europe’s leading railway companies with the initial aim of operating the Hermes data transmission network. The new office opens as the rail industry moves towards closer cooperation to implement the European Union’s TSI regulations - the Technical Specifications for Interoperability of Telematics Applications for Freight (TAF) and Passenger services (TAP).

The company retains its legal seat and headquarters in Utrecht in the Netherlands, but felt the need to be closer to the European institutions by opening a representative office in Brussels. This is in line with a strategic decision taken by Hit Rail some years ago, to accompany its traditional business of operating the Hermes network with the development of the Hermes Open Services HEROS – a portfolio of products and services aimed at supporting the European railway undertakings and infrastructure managers in complying with the TAF and TAP Regulations.

The opening of the Brussels office follows a meeting between Hit Rail and officers of the EU Directorate on Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) overseeing the TSI programme to discuss further developments in Hit Rail’s HEROS platform in order to fulfill the needs of the European rail community. Hit Rail representatives also took part in the first TAF/TAP regional workshop in Madrid in June, organized by ERA for support of the Spanish and Portuguese RUs and IMs. Earlier this year the company also signed a cooperation agreement with Raildata, a special group within the International Union of Railways which is active in the development and production of central information and data exchange systems for European freight rail transport.  

Antonio Lopez, Managing Director of Hit Rail, said: “This is an important step for Hit Rail in taking our rightful place amongst the major actors in the European rail landscape. We are closely involved in the implementation of the TSI regulations and to do so we need to be able to work effectively with all the other major rail organisations and rail operating companies and react quickly to developments. It makes great strategic sense to have a physical presence in Brussels.”


Press enquiries Hit Rail:
Sheila Lashford
Splash PR
Tel: +44 (0) 7986 514240
sheila@splash-pr.biz


About Hit Rail B.V. 
Hit Rail B.V. is a private Dutch company created in 1990 and owned by 12 European railway companies. Its purpose is to help European railway companies to carry out international projects in related fields of data communications and information technology. Hit Rail is responsible for managing international private data communications infrastructure and message brokering services on behalf of its shareholders and customers. Its services are used by some 40 railway companies from 21 countries. All Hit Rail customers’ data centres and company networks are interconnected by a pan-European IP-based VPN (Virtual Private Network) named Hermes VPN, which is supplied by British Telecom (BT) and managed by Hit Rail. In 2013 the company launched its HEROS message interoperability service which aims to enable interoperability across disparate platforms in railway companies across Europe.

For more information please visit http://www.hitrail.com/ or send an email to info@hitrail.com 

16 Jul 2015
Hit Rail and Raildata agree on cooperation to bring enhanced services to railway undertakings and freight users across Europe

Hit Rail b.v. and Raildata, two of Europe’s leading railway organisations in the promotion of interoperability and cooperation between railways across borders, have signed a new agreement that will see them work more closely together to promote existing services and combine their services to offer enhanced benefits to their users.
For more details please see the attached Press release.

20 Apr 2015