User Charges for Railway Infrastructure

European Conference of Ministers of Transport

Now that railway infrastructure and train operations have been separated in Europe -- at least for accounting purposes -- user charges for infrastructure are progressively being introduced to cover the costs of running trains. However, because of the lack of experience in this field, it is difficult to set the amount and choose the most appropriate form for these charges. There are in fact major differences between countries, and the objectives are many and sometimes conflicting. Given this situation, the Round Table sought to highlight, through its introductory reports and discussions, some essential economic principles that can help to shed light on what a rational system of user charges for railway infrastructure might be and thereby make it possible to address a crucial aspect of railway reform in Europe.

Special attention is paid to the German, French, British and Swedish experience.

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