Amadeus is developing a rail technology platform for shopping, booking and ticketing following an agreement to power IT and distribution for BeNe Rail International.
The initiative aims to be a benchmark model for all rail operators to share a hosted platform and the hope is that further rail partners will join thereby outsourcing their distribution and IT services to the distribution giant.
BeNe Rail is a 50/50 distribution technology joint venture between NS (Dutch railways) and SNCB (Belgian railways) and processes about 10 million tickets every year.
The community platform will see Amadeus developing and hosting services for several rail companies enabling them to benefit from a shared solution.
The aim of the platform, which is part of Amadeus' Total Rail, is to provide end-to-end rail processes for European rail travel and BeNe RI will act as the launch partner for the platform.
Of the initiative, Amadeus rail and ground services director Thomas Drexler says the company is confident the Altea solutions for airlines can be replicated for the rail industry.
There have been a series of moves in European rail distribution in the past year.
Almost a year ago Amadeus announced it was leading an EC effort called All Ways Travelling, to integrate rail data and ultimately build a 'proof of concept' booking engine for multi-modal travel. BeNe Rail is also part of that consortium.
Then, last October, rail operators and ticket vendors unveiled a plan to simplify rail bookings with a Memorandum of Understanding signed by travel tech organisation ETTSA, travel agency body ECTAA and railway association CER.
The initiative is called Full Service Model and is designed to make it easier and cheaper to share accurate rail data through the development of specifications and standards.
FSM should result in more choice and information for passengers and increased commercial opportunities for rail providers.
ETTSA secretary general Christoph Klenner says working groups have now been set up for the different stages of a rail transaction.
"We hope to have these working groups up and running and starting to develop specifications in the course of the Summer."
NB: Girl on train image via Shutterstock