UIC questionnaire on supplying MERITS integrated timetable data to MERITS and non-MERITS participants


For some years, the international travel world has expressed an interest in rail timetable data, specifically integrated rail timetable data.
The UIC, the International Union of Railways (http://uic.org/about) has the intention to start delivering MERITS integrated timetable and location data to third parties in the near future.

For this purpose, a UIC task force is conducting a feasibility study.
As part of the market assessment, the task force prepared this questionnaire for the IATA TPSC, ETTSA and ECTAA members, to learn their requirements and expectations. It will also be sent to the UIC MERITS members for evaluation purposes.

MERITS (Multiple European Railways Integrated Timetable Storage) is a database, owned by UIC, containing the integrated timetable data of many European and some non-European countries (Russia, Turkey, Belarus), comprising a few hundred railway undertakings (RUs), which are published twice a week.
MERITS today is not an application for the general public, but a tool designed for railway companies, which decide themselves on how their information and distribution channels are supplied based on their own commercial policy. Today, EDIFACT is the single format used for importing and exporting the data (SKDUPD and TSDUPD messages).

The MERITS timetable data consist of:

  • Schedules of trains, a significant number of (inter)regional and long-distance busses and some ship services, including service brand (e.g. Eurostar), generic service mode (e.g. high-speed train, Intercity, bus, ship etc.), and service attributes (1st and 2nd class, reservation advised/mandatory, restaurant car etc.). It contains about 600.000 services in Europe. Many, but not all, RUs deliver the departure and arrival platforms with their timetable data.
  • Location database, containing about 67.680 European stations and stops, including geo-coordinates and UIC location codes (9-digit number: 4N + 5N).
  • MCT’s (minimum connection time) per location in minutes + exceptions, defined as service pairs with their specific MCT (this can be a higher or lower number than the location MCT). Also: pedestrian links and connections between locations.

Timetable period represented in MERITS:

  • Most railway companies publish a 12-month timetable, running from mid-December to mid-December +1. Some publish separate winter and summer timetables. From mid-October, the next 12-month c. q. 6-month timetable becomes available, and MERITS then contains up to two 12-month periods.
  • A few RU’s publish a calendar year timetable (Jan – Dec) and a few others only publish the period between each update and mid-December.
  • Services (mainly high-speed trains) hosted in the French inventory system Resarail, e.g. TGV, Eurostar and Thalys, publish their timetable according to their booking horizon, i.e. 4-6 months ahead.

NB: real-time information is not part of the MERITS database.

Overview of MERITS’ members in 2016


11° In case an API were available
14° For all these proposed services:

Kind regards,

On behalf of the UIC Open MERITS task force,

Marc Guigon

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Thursday 21 September 2017