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Railway Markup Language
Filename extension .railml or .railmlx
Developed by railML.org
Initial release 22 December 2005 (2005-12-22)
Latest release
(11 June 2013; 2 years ago (2013-06-11))
Extended from XML
Standard Industry standard
Open format? Yes, CC BY-NC-ND
Website www.railml.org

railML is a data exchange format for interoperability in railway industry applications.


railML (railway mark-up language) is a common exchange format, which employs the systematic of XML for the description of rail-specific data. railML enables the exchange of railway data between internal and external railway applications. railML is developed within the so-called “railML consortium” from railML.org. It is an open source exchange format; the modelling language of railML is English. A free registration on railML is mandatory for the usage and download of railML schemes.


railML was founded in early 2002 from the Fraunhofer-IVI (Dresden, Germany) and the ETH Zürich (Switzerland) against the background of the chronic difficulty of connecting different railway IT applications. The exchange of data for operation concepts, slot management, simulation or infrastructure planning, etc. was possible only with a lot of special developed interfaces with loss of time and cost problems for railway companies.[1] railML tries to place at disposal an easy and handy, self-describing format close to existing standards.[1] railML is changed and adapted to the needs of railway infrastructure companies (IM's) and railway undertakings (RU's) within discussions. Up to now the versions 1.0; 1.1; 2.0; 2.1 and 2.2 were released for download and productive use. As of 2014, railML's version 3 (new topology model and other evolutions) is currently under development.[2]

railML schemes[edit]

railML is based on XML and sub-areas use other existing XML-schemes such as MathML and GML. It is composed of sub-schemes. Through version 2.2, three sub-schemes are in productive use:

  • infrastructure for the (priority topological) description of tracks and signalling equipment
  • rolling stock for the description of vehicles
  • timetable for the description of timetables

Additional sub-schemes are station facilities (on hold, currently no requirements from users), crew rostering (data is being gathered and railML.org working group being established) and interlocking (in development by active railML.org working group).


railVIVID is an open source freeware tool provided by UIC and railML.org to validate railML files of version 2.x or higher and to show the content of railML files in some special views. This shall give also non-IT-experts an easy and handy access to railML data. Therefore some sights of railway data can be shown, copied and printed with railVIVID:

railVIVID is available via railML's website, the source code will be published in Autumn 2015.[3]

railML.org Consortium[edit]

The development of railML is driven by the railML.org – Initiative, a development partnership of independent companies and organizations and European railways (e.g.: SBB, DB, RFF, Infrabel, BLS, ÖBB, etc.). The participation on the development and semi-annual conferences to exchange experience and discuss basics is open. The continuous development work is mainly internet-based (German and English forums). The organisation of the discussions is managed by so-called railML Coordinators. The (free) membership of the railML.org Consortium is mandatory for the download and usage of railML schemes.

UIC ERIM project[edit]

The ERIM (abbreviation for European Rail Infrastructure Modelling) project of the International Union of Railways (UIC) supports the development of a common standard for data exchange in the railway sector.[4] In 2013 the UIC ERIM feasibility study[5] was performed, in order to analyze and propose a project plan to build a universal infrastructure data exchange format, and a common “language” to improve the railway data exchange. Based on this study a topology model, the ‘UIC RailTopoModel’, which will be the base for railML 3 was developed. This ‘UIC RailTopoModel’ shall become a UIC regulation called 'International Railway Standard' (IRS 30100)[6] in Autumn 2015.


  1. ^ a b Nissi, Erika (September 17, 2013). "Rail TopoModel and railML" (PDF). Paris: UIC. 
  2. ^ "The development of the new railML 3 schema". railML. November 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ SNCF Réseau and TU Dresden (April 28, 2015). "4th UIC RailTopoModel and railML Conference: Achievements" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "UIC e-news 362: The foundation for a Universal Infrastructure Data Exchange Format". November 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ trafIT solutions (September 2013). "Feasibility Study UIC RailTopoModel and data exchange format" (PDF). Zurich, Switzerland. 
  6. ^ UIC Paris and railML.org (April 28, 2015). "4th UIC RailTopoModel and railML Conference: Governanceby" (PDF). 

External links[edit]