As the European Union works towards achieving the ambitious goals set out in the Green Deal, rail transport is increasingly recognised as a key component in reducing carbon emissions and creating sustainable mobility. RailNetEurope’s Train Information System (TIS) is at the forefront of this shift, providing a reliable and efficient interface for tracking and tracing trains in real-time across Europe. With a user community of over 3,700 unique users per month, TIS has established itself as the standard interface for managing logistical chains and international train journeys, and it is rapidly gaining popularity among Railway Undertakings and logistics companies. In this article, we will explore how TIS is continuously evolving to meet the business needs of the railway transport sector, with recent developments such as train linking based on wagon set information, a train driver app, distance calculation, and tracking at wagon level.
Train Linking based on Wagon Set Information (Train Composition Message)
One of the challenges in tracking and tracing trains across Europe is identifying and merging individual train sections into one international transport. Timetabling in Europe is still not fully harmonised to provide unique train identifiers, but TIS is up to the task. The application has developed a set of supplemental business rules to link trains with different train numbers at international segment borders. One of these rules is based on the train composition. TIS continuously checks if trains with the same wagon sets can be merged if the train number is different. If the wagon composition matches by at least 90%, TIS links national train sets into one unique train. Once the trains are linked, all involved companies can access all relevant information along the international train journey. Currently, the main source of Train Composition comes from the RUs which equals to nearly 20% of the train traffic.
Train Driver App
TIS is continuously enhancing its user interface to make it more accessible, user-friendly, and intuitive. The latest optimisation is the Train Driver App, which is designed for smart devices like smartphones and tablets. The app allows train drivers to report their current location and feed TIS with locations that are not currently available in the system (terminals, port areas).
TIS has recently developed and deployed a very precise distance calculation feature. Based on segment information provided by the Infrastructure Managers involved, TIS can calculate the distance between two adjacent primary locations. TIS can provide distance information for the planned path and, after the train has reached its destination, the real distance of the entire train journey. If the wagon information is available for a particular train, the wagon performance (Wagon Kilometer) can be provided as well.
Outlook: Tracking at Wagon Level
One of the most exciting features currently under development for TIS is tracking at wagon level using Global Positioning System (GPS) or Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) information. This option will be available in TIS in the future and will be an added value on the existing train information. This new feature will provide even more accurate and reliable information to logistics companies, further improving the efficiency and safety of rail transport.
TIS is becoming the go-to tool for logistics management in rail transport, and for good reason. The application’s ability to track and trace trains in real-time across Europe, link trains with different train numbers, and provide detailed information about train status, cargo, and train composition is making a big impact in the industry. With the Train Driver App, distance calculation feature, and the forthcoming tracking at wagon level, TIS is constantly evolving to meet the needs of its users. By providing a reliable and efficient way to manage rail transport, TIS is playing a vital role in shaping the future of logistics in Europe.
Learn more about TIS HERE.