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What Is Orfeus

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). 



Orfeus Functions


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.

How It Works

Railway Undertaking gets consignment information from the forwarding customer and completes the consignment note. Then it sends the consignment note from its Information System to ORFEUS.

ORFEUS receives and checks the messages for both formal and logical accuracy. Then ORFEUS forwards the consignment data to Information System of the next involved railway undertakin(s), depending on their role in the transport chain (and of course, only if they are connected to ORFEUS).  Distribution is based on the carrier routing in consignment note dataset.

There are more scenarios of message exchange flows, specific if the transport runs in a classic way, or using the Electronic Consignment Note (paperless transports).  

Current ORFUES message is capable to carry 100% of CIM consignment note data  or CUV wagon note data and matches the requirements of  the electronic consignment note defined by the CIT.

There are more versions of the ORFEUS messages used in parallel. ORFEUS converts the different message versions. 

These messages use modern XML syntax. Messages transmission is ensured with provided FTP client software, preferably over the Hermes VPN. 

RailData’s User Support Centre (USC) in Basel provides production support for ORFEUS Users (Railway Undertakings), as well as coordination between the individual suppliers for specific parts of the service.

Specific web based tool linked to ORFEUS allows on-line queries to search in the received and sent messages for analytic and support purposes. This tool is open to authorized staff of the Users only. 

Orfeus Benefits

The main benefits of ORFEUS are:


Consignment note data are captured only once, so collection of the data at handovers to next RU is no more needed. It also means that no data are lost or badly modified.


The data can be used during rail transport for several operational tasks, e.g. resource planning, production steering, electronic invoicing…

Cost Savings

If the Electronic Consignment Note is used, then the paper note is not issued, printed nor transported, which means significant advantages and production costs savings.

Standardised Interface

User Railway Undertakings need to develop, run and maintain only one, standardised interface, compared to eventual bilateral consignment data exchange with specific interfaces. Also the data are available immediately after forwarding at the first carrier. 


Huge number of consignment data is exchanged between the ORFEUS Users

In average there are about 110 000 consignments reported via ORFEUS monthly. ORFEUS processes more than about 2,7 million messages yearly.


ČD Cargo, a.s. (Czechia)


CFL Cargo S.A. (Luxembourg)


DB Cargo AG (Germany)


DB Cargo Italia Srl (Italy)


DB Cargo Nederland N.V. (Netherlands)


DB Cargo Polska Spółka Akcyjna (Poland)


DB Cargo Scandinavia A/S (Denmark)


Euro Cargo Rail SA (France)


Transfesa (Spain)


Green Cargo AB (Sweden)


HŽ Cargo d.o.o. (Croatia) - only receive


LINEAS (Belgium)


Mercitalia Rail (Italy)


Rail Cargo Austria (Austria)




SBB CFF FFS Cargo (Switzerland)


SNCF MOBILITES - Fret (France)


LINEAS France (in test)

How to Join Orfeus

RailData’s Terms of Reference and the ORFEUS User Agreement define the following conditions for ORFEUS User:

  • Is an active freight Railway Undertaking,
  • Uses in any way the ORFEUS application,
  • Has its own RICS code,
  • Accepts, signs and fulfils the ORFEUS User Agreement,
  • Pays the ORFEUS usage fees,
  • Delivers at least minimum data to ORFEUS,
  • Nominates a contact person.

ORFEUS User can be at the same time a member of RailData, but does not have to. New ORFEUS Users are obliged to start send data to ORFEUS within maximum one year.

ORFEUS User fees are set each year to cover the costs. Standard fees take account of both Users usage and Technical interface. Special low entry fees are offered for small Users.

Railway Undertakings with interest to become ORFEUS User need to contact the ORFEUS Assembly chairman with the following Contact form. Applications are to be approved by the ORFEUS Assembly.

Contact Us

Find out the location of our office and the different ways to contact us so that we can answer your questions or provide you with the support you need.


Digital Platform Of European Rail Freight


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Basel, CH 4051

+41 61 461 23 05

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