A. General Information

1. Title

ORFEUS (Open Railway Freight EDI User System)- European electronic information exchange system for railway freight

2. Status of the project
3. Implementation period of the project/service:
5. Geographical coverage
Regional: Europe
Participating countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxembourg
6. Participating agencies/entities of the project/service:
a. Development stage
Lead agencies/entities
RailData (special group of International groups of Railways) which develops and runs IT services for European rail freight undertakings.
Other participating agencies/entities
b. Operational stage
Lead agencies/entities (op)
RailData (special group of International groups of Railways) which develops and runs IT services for European rail freight undertakings.
Other participating agencies/entities (op)
7. Main stakeholders/beneficiaries of the project
8. Business process category of the project
Regulatory/official control

B. Lessons Learned

9. Summary description of the project/service
Brief Summary

ORFEUS stands for Open Railway Freight EDI User System. It is an information system developed and operated by RailData. It ensures the exchange of railway CIM consignment notes and CUV wagon notes data between the co-operating railway undertakings (RU) using a Central Data management System (CDS). 

a. Objective(s)

ORFEUS is an information system developed and operated by Raildata, for development and production of central information and data exchange systems for European rail freight transport. ORFEUS system provides exchange of CIM consignment notes and CUV wagon notes data between railway operators using a Central Data System (CDS).

ORFEUS Components:

• Central part CDS (Central Data-management System). It acts as a message broker for collection and distribution of information, including specific logic and verifications.

• National Information Systems (NISes) of connected railway operators.

The ORFEUS technology is used by railway companies in Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Sweden, Croatia, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Italy.

b. Business need for the project (background)

The need for railways to restructure their technological and management practices to respond to market demand for highly reliable and flexible freight transportation services.

Efficientdata exchange with authorities (customs).

c. Business process covered*

Railway Undertakings send data content of the consignment/wagon notes to ORFEUS, which distributes these data to other carriers involved in the transport. The CIM/CUV notes in paper form exist and accompany the wagons still.

Data Exchange is performed as above, but the data fulfil the role of the Electronic Consignment Note (ECN). There is no paper note issued nor transported anymore.

d. Overall architecture and functionalities*


e. Relevant document/figure
10. Documents and data exchanged via the project

CIM consignment notes and CUV wagon notes

11. Data models/databases, proprietary solutions, hybrid approaches
12. Main challenges faced during the project

Incompatibility of data standards

Challenges related to electronic exchange between railways and customs.

Incompatibility of codification of goods.

13. Lessons learned from the project
14. Main benefit(s) of the project
Enhanced regulatory compliance*
Transaction Cost savings*
Simplified process
14A. Elaborations/detailed description on benefits gained

-Single communication system for all business cases an operator can find

• Improved communication and process coordination between railway operators and infrastructure managers (in terms of quality and speed)

• Single standardized way of working, providing cost savings through better management quality system; establishment of homogeneous procedures; reduction in system maintenance costs

• Standardized and interoperable communication interface

15. Technical/financial/capacity building/other assistance
16. Future plan for expansion of the project

Solve the shortcomings identified during the project implementation

Using new TAF location code structures

Simplifies integrity and acceptance rules for processing of received messages.

Adds new customs procedures codes of the CIM consignment note.

17. Other information or relevant references on the project

Electronic Information Exchange System for Railway Freight.pdf (

18. Relevant document regarding the project

C. Relevant Standards

20. Electronic message standard
20A. Electronic message standard supporting the project
20B. Type of standard for electronic message applied for the project
Proprietary solution
Please refer to:
Proprietary solution was applied because:
- No relevant international standard
21. Technical communication standard
21A. Technical communication standard supporting the project
21B. Type of technical communication standard applied for the project
22. Security-related standards*
22A. Security-related standard supporting the project
22B. Type of security-related standard applied for the project
23. Other Technical Information
23A. Interface developed for data exchange with an internal system
23B. Other technical implementation information