Plonquo Rail – Train planning and more

As a spin of from the standard Plonquo asset management system, we have developed specialized features in Plonquo, which serve the rail industry.

Plonquo is about planning.
Plonquo is strong in planning any kind of asset.

Plonquo Rail is about planning locomotives, wagons, train sets, and other rail vehicles.
Plonquo Rail is about putting containers and conventional cargos on wagons. Registering Dangerous Goods in Cargos.
Plonquo Rail is strong in visualizing these rail assets, Containers, Cargos, and Dangerous Goods.
Plonquo Rail is strong in planning Trains, which run through Europe.

The Plonquo Rail solution is able to interface the train data by means of different interfaces from and to many different parties.

New IT challenges for Railway Undertakings

Train Composition Messages must be implemented

Railway communication is going to European standards

Railway Undertakings face new challenges related to the way they interface their train related data to the Infrastructure Manager.
ProRail is standardizing the way it communicates about trains with the railway undertakings. For the short term, this involves the systems WLIS (wagon lading informatie systeem), OVGS and the energy settlement system.
Part of this step is the use of European coding systems for Countries, Companies, and Locations, which are available in en centralized database (the so called Common Reference Database (CRD)).

On the long run, railway communication will evolve to European standards, as set in the TAF TSI (for passenger traffic the TAP TSI).
This means that Railway Undertakings have to adapt the way they communicate with ProRail.

These are the changes for the near future:

Train Composition Message (for Freight Trains)

This involves OVGS and WLIS.
The Dutch Rail infrastructure manager ProRail demands railway undertakings to send their train composition data in the so-called TCM (Train Composition Message) format. This format has to comply with TSI TAF definition. The TSI TAF is a European standard which is maintained by the European agency for Railways (ERA). Previously these messages could generated by means of an Excel sheet and then sent by e-mail.
In the present situation, all the messages must have the TCM structure and the communication protocol has to comply with the so-called Common Interface.

Passenger Train Composition Process Message

The Passenger Train Composition Process Message (PTCPM) is the standardized way to communicatie with the infrastructure manager (in the Netherlands ProRail) about the the actual composition of a specific passenger train.
Railway undertakings must use this message in order to complete the whole energy settlement process.

The structure of the PTCPM message is very similair to the TCM message for freight trains.
The communication protocol is the same for both messages.

Energy Settlement

The settlement of energy used by traction vehicles on the Dutch railways will be done by means of a new system.  The project to achieve this (EVA) should be operational at the start of 2020. At that moment, every electric energy consuming rail vehicle must have an enery meter build in.
The energy meter collects the energy consumption, and sents daily updates to the organization responsible for the energy settlement (ERESS – European Partnership for Railway Settlement Systems). ERESS uses the EREX system to perform this task.

To complete the energy settlement, the actual composition of the train must be known. Every railway undertaking in the Netherlands must sent this train composition to ProRail, for every train.

  • For freight trains, the TCM must be used.
  • For passenger trains, the PTCPM must be used.

Train composition interfacing solutions

Options for setting up TCM / PTCPM communication channels

Do It Yourself?

You can build the TCM / PTCPM connection to ProRail yourself.
This is what you have to do:
(Here TCM message stands both for TCM message and PTCPM message)

Setting up the TCM messaging interface to ProRail requires some steps:

    • The sending railway undertaking must have a (European) company identification number. These are delivered by the UIC, upon request.
    • The sending party must identify itself by means of an X.509 certificate. RailNetEurope (RNE) is the provider of these certificates.
    • The TCM – XML message must comply with the TCM format, as defined in the TCM XSD. The message definition is set up by the ERA. The latest version of the TCM definition is available on GitHub.
    • On top of the European TCM definition, the Netherlands (ProRail) has some country-specific fields added to the message. The XSD for this is available by ProRail.
    • The message must be sent compliant with the communication protocol as defined in the Common Interface documents, set up by the ERA.
    • The codes used in the TCM message, for countries, companies, and locations must be valid codes, as registered in the European Common Reference Database (CRD).
    • ProRail needs to set up some communication parameters in its system, in order to be able to receive and process the message.
    • ProRail requires the sending party to do some testing, in order to be sure that the TCM will result in a valid message in their systems.

Buy a TCM / PTCPM Solution?

There several kinds of solutions available in the market.

    1. Buy a specialized train planning system for Railway Undertakings which supports the TCM interface.
      Solutions for Freight traffic are available.
    2. Create your own interface to ProRail, using an off the shelve interfacing solution(the so called Common Interface (CI)).
      First buy an off the shelve CI install it, and get it up and running, on your own or a hired server.
      Then you have to have a system which sents the right information in the right format to the off the shelve CI.
      The CI must be configured to be able to digest the messages your system sents to it.
      And lastly you have to configure the off the shelve CI, to let it communicate with ProRail.
    3. Use a solution which supports a simple way to generate the TCM message, without having to use the whole planning functionality.
      Plonquo Rail is an example of this kind of solution.

Most software suppliers use the Common Interface (CI) software package, as delivered by RailNetEurope (RNE) to generate the train composition message. Theoretically, there might be other suppliers of such a package. In practice, RNE is the only supplier.
This CI software can also be used when a Railway Undertaker decides to build their own message interface to ProRail.

How it works

Our TCM / PTCPM solution

Our TCM solution

We offer a simple solution for sending TCM / PTCPM data to ProRail.

Plonquo – Trains is a Railway specific version of the Plonquo Planning and Asset management system. With little effort, you can start using the Plonquo Rail functionality which is dedicated to sending TCM data to ProRail.

At a very competitive price!

One TCM, Three steps …

Sending a TCM / PTCPM message to ProRail with the help of Plonquo Trains involves these simple steps.

Initial Setup

Set up the system.
Register the Railway Undertaking in the system, register the users and set up a planning workspace.
This has to be done once and takes about 15 minutes.

For every train


Create an activity in the Plonquo planboard.
Adjust this activity, so that it contains the train-path data. (train number, start time, end time, start location, end location).

or, even easier, create an Excel sheet with the basic data for your trains. And then drop this Excel sheet on the planboard.
Now the Activities for the trains will be created in the planboard.


Create a spreedsheet with the train composition.
This spreadsheet contains one line for every asset in the train.

For freight traffic these lines with assets will contain the locomotive(s), the wagons and cargo in the train.
For passenger traffic these lines with assets will contain the vehicles in the trainset or the locomotive + the passenger vehicles in the train.

Drop the Excel sheet with the asset in the train the activity, created in step ONE.
The assets (the passenger vehicles / the locomotive, wagons, and cargos) will now be imported into the Plonquo system.
In the Activity – Asset configurator, you can make the adjustments to the train composition you deem necessary.


Click on the button to send the TCM / PTCPM message to ProRail.
Errors in the message will be visible. You can adjust the problems and resent the message.
The system will generate a notification, when the message is sent to ProRail without problems.

Bonus – Export data to Excel sheets

Having prepared your train, and sent the train data to ProRail as a Train Composition Message, you can enjoy more features of Plonquo Trains.

You are able to export the train data to Excel sheets in varies formats, dedicated to the train business.

Options are:

  1. Export the locomotive, wagon and cargo data.
  2. The Excel sheet with these data can be uploaded to be used in other trains.
  3. Export a wagon list.
  4. Export a brake configuration report.
  5. and much more.

Plonquo delivers more …

Once you want to do more than sending TCM data to ProRail, you will not get stuck.

Support of the whole train planning proces

Plonquo has the power to support the whole planning process of trains.
With Plonquo you can plan your trainsets, locomotives, staff, wagons, containers, conventional cargos, cars and much more.

Mobile app for field staff

Giving field staff assignments through a mobile app raises order tracking to a new level.

Full life cycle asset planning

Follow the maintenance of your assets, gather statistics, track malfunctions.

Have a look at the standard Plonquo site to see what Plonquo is about.

Show me the steps …

Click on an icon to see an animation of the steps described above.

Plonquo is designed to be as easy to use as can be

Solving complicated planning problems can only be done, when you have a complete look at the problem

A great visualization is not for fun, it is to solve problems



  • Want to learn about our extremely competitive pricing model for sending TCM / PTCPM message to ProRail?
  • Want to see a demo of Plonquo – Trains?
  • Want to learn about the Plonquo features besides train planning?

Sent us an E-mail and we will contact you.

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The Netherlands