HIT Rail launches a New Strategy.

HIT Rail launches a New Strategy to support Modernisation of the European Railways and strengthen mutual Collaboration
of the European Railways and strengthen mutual Collaboration.

A number of powerful forces are re-shaping the European rail world. The European Commission (via DG MOVE) is advancing a set of ambitious goals concerning interoperability, inter-modality and competitive markets for rail applications and services. The character of the railway business is changing. Market re-structuring has led to a separation between the RUs and IMs, as well as the emergence of new smaller companies. The present global economic climate has reinforced the downward pressure on cost for the sector as a whole. In parallel, information and communication technologies (ICT), which underpin the railways operations, is opening up new opportunities for the railway organisations to modernise their practices and deliver better services at lower cost.

In response to these developments, HIT Rail, the provider of data transmission services to the European rail community, has reviewed its strategy. The board of HIT Rail has adopted a forward looking business plan for the next five years, based on three main pillars: (1) increase core data network business via organic growth to support interoperability between railway applications; (2) capitalise on Internet technologies to provide a basic web service platform for services on demand, easy access by especially new players, and cheaper and faster solutions; (3) develop business alliances with major railway players for a win-win business proposition. The board believes that this new strategy will enable and facilitate a even more effective, collaborative and value-for-money railway environment, in alignment with the existing policies of the railway bodies such as the UIC and RNE, and in support of the European Union’s strategic goals for rail transport.

Under the new business strategy, HIT Rail aims to:
• Support new small open access operators and IMs who have little IT in new cost efficient ways;
• Extend the existing HOSA standards for HERMES to include web services technology;
• Support inter-working between FTP/MQ and web services;
• Support implementation of TSIs.

The HIT Rail plan was developed with due recognition of the activities and interests of other railway actors, which HIT Rail seeks to complement. Specifically, HIT Rail does not seek to compete with what already exists or is being carried out by the UIC or other major stakeholders such as RAILDATA, RNE or X-RAIL.

With regards to TAF implemenation, HIT Rail acknowledges the importance of the work undertaken by the sector with the development of the Common Interface, which HIT Rail will support with its web service platform. The HIT Rail offer will encourage implementation of CI by our customers, and will focus on a light CI solution for small operators (including access via browsers only).

In the Passenger area, HIT Rail will be offering a 918 to XML conversion as requested by the Passenger Technical Group of UIC, to enable new railways to construct XML passenger solutions and interwork with existing 918 users. For Freight, the company will only offer application 30 version to version exchange. For Infrastructure HIT Rail will only offer a pass through to RNE. It will also offer publish and subscribe service for distribution of code lists (again requested by some groups).

As a first step to implement its new strategy, HIT Rail has issued an RFP (drawn up on the basis of in-house knowledge and publicly available documents) for the provision of an initial set of web services. The winner(s) will be announced soon. The new services will be available in early 2012. Additional services will be considered in subsequent phases, building on the experience gained with the first set and always keeping in mind the needs expressed by the railway sector.

HIT Rail is confident that its current customers, as well as many new small open access operators and IMs, will find real value in the solutions offered by the company. HIT Rail’s business is built upon choice of the railways for high quality services at a reasonable price, as well as trust among its stakeholders developed and nurtured over 20 years through collaboration and consensus. The company will continue with this mission and tradition now and in future.

For further information, please contact Antonio Lopez, HIT Rail Managing Director, at alopez@hitrail.com.

9 Jun 2011