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Competition in Rail Transport: A New Opportunity for Railways?

Nash, C.A. and Preston, J.M. (1993) Competition in Rail Transport: A New Opportunity for Railways? Working Paper. Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds , Leeds, UK.

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Throughout Europe, and in many other parts of the world, railways are suffering from declining market share and deteriorating financial performance; consequently there is renewed interest in deregulation and the introduction of competition into rail transport as a way of improving performance. An EC Directive now provides for access to rail infrastructure for third parties to run their own international trains in some circumstances. After a long debate, the British Government in July 1992 published a White Paper (New Opportunities for the Railways) which aimed to go much further. It would both open access to the infrastructure for any licensed operator and franchise out existing passenger services via a competitive bidding process; all freight services would be privatised outright. Draft legislation to implement these proposals, as well as a string of consultation documents on details have also been published, and an Interim Report from the Select Committee of Members of Parliament examining the proposals has appeared. This paper review the debate that is currently raging over the British government proposals. It considers the potential for innovation and cost savings which they offer, as well as the problems of increased transactions costs, lack of competitive bidding and other potential inefficiencies of the new system. The key issue of the charging regime for access to the infrastructure is also addressed. It is concluded that competition in the provision of freight services is desirable, but that passenger services present many more problems, and that the proposals need modification if they are to meet their objectives.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright of the Institute of Transport Studies, University Of Leeds
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Adrian May
Date Deposited: 24 May 2007
Last Modified: 10 May 2016 11:14
Published Version: http://www.its.leeds.ac.uk/
Status: Published
Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Identification Number: Working Paper 397
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2178

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