Comparison Between European, North American and Pacific Asian Railways


Issue Europe North America Pacific Asia
Organization Separation of infrastructure from operations (for accountancy purposes) Separation by region (markets) (private companies and concessions of vertically integrated companies) Infrastructure and operations publicly owned
Market Focus Passenger oriented Freight oriented Passenger oriented
Ownership Infrastructure mainly publicly owned with a few exceptions (e.g. UK). Freight equipment and terminals increasingly privately owned and operated. Private Public
Distance Short to medium Medium to long Short to long

Source: adapted from: C. Nash and C. Rivera-Trujillo (2004) “Rail regulatory reform in Europe – principles and practice”, STELLA Focus Group 5 synthesis meeting, Athens.

There is a wide variety of governance strategies for rail assets. While in North America, both the infrastructure and the rolling stock are privately owned, it is the opposite in Pacific Asia. For most of Europe, the infrastructure are publicly owned and usage slots are leased to private operators.