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Context and Purpose of Ontorail Project

Ontorail is an attempt to use the power of MediaWiki and its semantic capabilities to support the current sectorial initiatives for implementing a shared Railway Digital Knowledge Vault. The project is led by UIC, the International Union of Railways, in the context of its contribution to several projects for digitalization, in particular the IFC Rail project by buildingSMART International.

Ontorail, a potential repository for railway concepts

The railway system is complex, and every company has its ways to name and define railway functions, components and properties. Several initiatives managed to reduce the uncertainties, such as:

  • the UIC railway dictionary;
  • the terminology adopted in certain standards or in Technical Specifications for Interoperability.

Early 2018, a group of European Infrastructure Managers in collaboration with the CRBIM Chinese consortium, launched the IFC Rail project in the context of buildingSMART International. The IFC rail project aims at defining the railway part of the IFC digital standard. IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is the international standard for BIM digital processes, spanning design, construction and maintenance, for Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure industries. The IFC Rail project has organized a 100+ business experts team to share their requirements, build consensus, and collaborate to define the terminology for the detailed description of a significant subset of the railways system, as required by the project scope.

The OntoRail project explores the possibility to formalize the corresponding knowledge by using MediaWiki, a powerful tool that allows to look up, understand, share, scrutinize, discuss every single term in a multilingual environment. For that sake, the Semantic extension of Mediawiki is put at use. Additionally, the Semantic Mediawiki toolset will allow to build links with other dictionaries, and export ontologies as may be useful for semantic web applications.

This site is experimental, and not yet open for the public as some content may be subject to copyright. Progressive release will depend on:

  • the robustness and usability of the proposed solution,
  • the willingness of data owners to release the information contained herein.

Ongoing project

On March 26th 2019, a meeting was held with the representatives of current projects for railway digital standardization and their stakeholders. The projects invloved in this meeting are RailTopoModel (UIC), Eulynx Consortium, IFC Rail (buildingSMART International), Shift²Rail CDM, and

The attendees confirmed their willingness to go for a unique Common Rail Dictionary, and work further on the OntoRail prototype based on Semantic Mediawiki, under the coordination of UIC to propose roadmap.

UIC is currently working on a prototype (this very website) to be presented to the community by summer 2019.


To registered users

Getting started (for users)

Bugs & Features

The short-term development path is available on this page. For the time being, there is little to see, as I am still working on data import issues, rather than the wiki itself.

Handle with care

This site uses Mediawiki and its extension, Semantic MediaWiki.

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.

Getting started (for site administrators)

About the contents

There is no railway domain-specific table of content, for the time being. For searching the contents, you may:

  1. type something in the search box on the top right, or
  2. go to List of pages: All pages.

All content displayed here is provisional, and for testing purposes. It shall not be copied, referenced, or distributed in any way. If you happen to see it, you're just lucky.

For background information about, please contact UIC: Airy Magnien.