OpenRBC, RBC with open interfaces / Istanbul UIC ERTMS / Stand A10

Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

The OpenRBC team is delighted to inform you that we will be present and exhibiting at the UIC ERTMS 2014 World Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

OpenRBC is a new open innovation initiative from Movares from The Netherlands and from ERTMS Solutions from Belgium.

For the conference we prepared a fact sheet and a video on how OpenRBC can change the way you think about implementing ERTMS Level 2.

At the OpenRBC stand, experts from Movares and ERTMS Solutions will be available to discuss the benefits of the OpenRBC approach with you and how OpenRBC can contribute to your ERTMS implementation strategy.

Let’s inspire each other and have an open discussion about OpenRBC.

Visit us at stand A10 at the 11th UIC ERTMS 2014 World conference 1-3th April 2014 in the Halic Congress Center, Istanbul.

Best Regards,
Frits Makkinga, Movares and Stanislas Pinte, ERTMS Solutions

OpenRBC and Berner&Mattner become intermediate partner of euLynX

Frankfurt/Berlin/Utrecht/Brussels, March 14th, 2014. On Friday March 14th Movares and ERTMS Solutions, the OpenRBC founding fathers, signed a strategic collaboration with Berner & Mattner. With this signature the three companies agreed to collaborate in supporting DB Netze in the process of defining, modelling and maintaining the European harmonization and standardization of the interfaces between the interlocking and all other trackside subsystems. This collaboration is the preferred intermediate partner for both the DB Netze NeuPro project and for all present and future members of the euLynX initiative (

All feedback and improvements gathered by OpenRBC and Berner & Mattner from discussions with the European Railway Infrastructure Managers about the eulynX interfaces will be submitted to the DB Netze NeuPro project, and ultimately to the benefit of the whole railway community.

Bernd Elsweiler, DB Netze: “We regard this collaboration between Berner & Mattner, Movares and ERTMS Solutions as a competent intermediate partner to the euLynX members. They will address our most important issue: the lack of qualified resources to define, specify, model and maintain standard interfaces between the interlocking and all other trackside subsystems.

Oliver Lemke, Berner & Mattner: „As a longtime partner of DB Netze in the project NeuPro we built up a considerable know-how in the specification of standardized interlocking interfaces and architectures. In the next phase of NeuPro and within the context of euLynX we are eager to improve the existing specifications and guidelines for the usage by other railway operators together with experts from Movares and ERTMS Solutions.

Frits Makkinga, Movares and Stanislas Pinte, ERTMS Solutions: “This strategic collaboration is in line with all stakeholders’ interests of our OpenRBC initiative. We are delighted to be able to propagate publicly available standards in the railway sector through this collaboration.

Strukton Rail welcomes the OpenRBC initiative and fully support its goals

On Friday 14 February, the OpenRBC initiative was presented and discussed with Mr. D. Schonebaum managing director Strukton Rail. In 2012 Strukton Rail and Movares teamed up to launch a long term vision on the development of rail in The Netherlands. This vision has been adopted by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment in the LTSA (Lange Termijn Spoor Agenda, in English: Long Term Rail Agenda).

Strukton Rail welcomes the OpenRBC initiative and fully support its goals. Mr. Schonebaum said that Strukton Rail will join the initiative by becoming partner of OpenRBC. As a result, Strukton Rail is now listed on the partner page.

Netherlands Railways (NS) suggests to add airgap standardization to the scope of OpenRBC

On Tuesday 14 January we discussed the OpenRBC project proposal with Mr. Jos Holtzer (Dept. of Rolling Stock & Energy) and Mrs. Esmé Kalshoven (Head of Infrastructure Management and responsible for ERTMS implementation), both working on ERTMS development and implementation at NS Passengers. Mrs. Kalshoven and Mr. Holtzer expressed their enthusiasm for the OpenRBC initiative. Amongst other things, they elaborated on the potential of OpenRBC as a means to establish a common standard for train-track communication which will enable a smooth migration to ERTMS. A standard that would be all the more powerful if it were to be shared by other stakeholders in the European railway business, especially train operating companies and infrastructure managers. Mr. Holtzer and Mrs. Kalshoven asked us to add “standardisation of the airgap” as an additional objective of OpenRBC. This would mean that both infrastructure managers as well as operators and fleet owners would benefit from the initiative.

Mr. Holtzer stated: “Operators and fleet owners need to certify their rolling stock for separate ERTMS-equipped tracks and projects in the European network, leading to increased costs and reduced reliability and availability of their assets. Further standardisation will eventually eliminate differences between ERTMS deployments and, therefore, the need for multiple certification procedures. Furthermore, moving from black box to glass house solutions greatly improves the rate of standardisation. In this way OpenRBC is an important step ahead to get rid of the burden of repeated approval procedures and to save time and money”.

Since The Netherlands will decide on migrating to ERTMS soon, endeavours like OpenRBC become all the more important for the Dutch railway sector. “Considering the potential advantages OpenRBC promises to have for the railways, we would welcome other stakeholders in The Netherlands to support this initiative”, Mr. Holtzer concluded.

How to avoid the four levels of interpretation of the RBC functionality?

One question we received frequently during our contacts with OpenRBC stakeholders is: “Why does a formal model benefit RBC development and maintenance?”

As a railway infrastructure manager you have a clear idea about the operational and safety functionality you need for your ERTMS Radio Block Centre systems. With a first interpretation you write down this specification in your native language if possible, but probably in a foreign language. We all know from experience that text-written specifications are incomplete, inconsistent, contradictory and ambiguous.

This specification is sent to your supplier and with a second interpretation he tries to understand your requirements. The requirements are translated into source code by a software development team, causing a third interpretation.

After the implementation has finished, the testing of the system is performed. The fourth interpretation of the requirements occurs when the supplier creates the test specification. It needs no explanation that errors found during testing, or even worse when the system is in service, are very expensive to correct and impact the day to day operations seriously.

With a formal model we can solve all these interpretations and problems and save a significant amount of money and time. A formal model of the RBC allows you to:

  1. Unambiguously specifying the requirements.
  2. Prototyping and early requirements validation.
  3. Generating the RBC source code automatically, thereby avoiding gaps between the specifications and the actual RBC behaviour. 
  4. Control specifications evolutions over time (new ERTMS Baselines and Change Requests), by measuring the impact of changes and by testing these changes before implementing them in software and hardware.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss the formal modelling benefits with us.


ProRail calls the railway market to join OpenRBC

On Thursday 12 December, the OpenRBC project team had a first meeting with the management of the railway interlocking department at ProRail. We presented and discussed the OpenRBC project goals and large benefits for ProRail and many other actors of the industry. Their reaction was very positive and constructive.
Obviously, such a first positive reaction from ProRail is a strong signal. With OpenRBC the decision for the ERTMS roll-out scenario can now be taken separately from decisions to renew existing, perfect working interlockings.

ProRail wants to join us and become one of the sponsors the OpenRBC project if more parties sponsor the project: the sooner more organizations like ProRail, consulting and engineering companies and system suppliers join OpenRBC, the sooner we can start setting up the new open standards for the RBC for the global ERTMS market. Subsequently, ProRail literally asked us to invite other parties to join and sponsor the OpenRBC project with them.

We already agreed with ProRail to organize a special ERTMSFormalSpecs workshop to demonstrate the power of the formal modelling in the context of OpenRBC. This dedicated ProRail workshop is planned for January 2014 in Brussels and will include a code generation demonstration applicable to any CENELEC SIL4 open hardware platform.
Please contact us to let us know if your company is interested in joining the OpenRBC project, as a co-sponsor, together with ProRail!

OpenRBC across Europe

On Monday 25 November 2013, Movares and ERTMS Solutions published the OpenRBC website… A very exciting week indeed! It is always exciting to publish a new website, but it is also exciting to see the number of visits during the following days. The first day we had more than 330 views; then the number of views dropped a bit, but on Thursday it started increasing again and even more  than on Tuesday and Wednesday. We received reactions from a system supplier, a university, a Railway Infrastructure Manager and individual persons working on ERTMS projects. We also saw tweets in Belgium and Finland about OpenRBC. Continue reading

OpenRBC is online

Today the founding partners of the OpenRBC project, Movares and ERTMS Solutions, have started the OpenRBC website.

The primary goal of the OpenRBC project is to specify and develop an open interface specification between the interlocking (IXL) and the ERTMS Level 2 Radio Block Centre (RBC). This specification should become part of the ERA subset.

A secondary goal is to develop a formal model of the RBC application logic as specified in ERA subset 026. Once this is achieved, the implementation in the source code can be generated in the applicable programming language (C, C++, ADA).

A third goal is to specify and develop an open model specification of the infrastructure. With this model, the specific infrastructure can be described, which is under control of the RBC system.

The new specifications and formal model will be an open source.
OpenRBC is an open crowd sourcing innovation project so you can join the project, either to fund the project or to do the work that has to be done to achieve the goals of the project. Use the contact form to inform us about your interests.

Thank you for your attention and participation in this project!