Competitive Tendering of Rail Services

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Competitive tendering provides a way to introduce competition to railways whilst preserving an integrated network of services. It has been used for freight railways in some countries but is particularly attractive for passenger networks when subsidised services make competition between trains serving the same routes difficult or impossible to organise. This report examines experience to date from around the world in competitively tendering rail services. It seeks to draw lessons for effective design of concessions and regulation from both the successful and less successful cases examined. The work is based on detailed examinations by leading experts of the experience of passenger rail concessions in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.  It also draws on examples of freight rail concessions in Latin America.

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Conclusions: competitive tendering in railways – what can we learn from experience?

European Conference of Ministers of Transport

The role of ownership in railways is highly contentious. Railways, just like any other mode in the transport sector, are simply a collection of assets, operated by a group of people, delivering a service that is itself a derived demand. The question of who owns and manages what, though, has found very different answers in different countries and circumstances: in fact, the answer in any single country has often been unstable, seesawing back and forth depending on circumstance and political fashion.

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