Competition in the railway industry

This is a fascinating book on new market regulations of the railway sector. It contains a wealth of insights into regulatory aspects of a sector in transition. The revitalization of railway systems worldwide are critically dependent on new institutional arrangements and this book offers a range of innovative perspectives. Peter Nijkamp, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands I am impressed by this book on railway competition. . . I have not previously seen such a comprehensive treatment of the problems of introducing competition on the railways. The editors have found good authors and provide an up-to-date mix of theory and practical examples from around the world. The book assumes little knowledge of economics and is suitable for both economics and business students. Because it contains comparisons with other utility markets it will be of use to students and others interested in utilities other than the railways. Colin Robinson, University of Surrey, UK Numerous countries have attempted to improve the performance of their railways by introducing more competition, but there is fierce debate and no consensus on how this is best achieved. This book reveals how railways were an obvious target for reform because they were often losing traffic and money, and because the government was typically deeply involved as either owner or regulator. This book summarizes and assesses the evidence from the experiences of rail reform in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. In short, the book reveals that no one approach has proven to be best across a wide variety of circumstances. It highlights how unbundling (separating infrastructure from train operations so that independent train operators could compete over common tracks) although attractive in theory, has so far proved complex to implement and delivered only some of the promised benefits. Privatization and deregulation have had more demonstrated success in the freight systems of North and South America, but are still largely untested in the more complex railway networks of Europe. The evidence is arguably slightly stronger for privatization and deregulation than for unbundling, but the jury is still out. Competition in the Railway Industry is invaluable in that it compares the strategies and experiences of different countries in introducing competition in railways, rather than simply focusing on one country and its approach. As such, it will appeal greatly to those in industry and government interested in railway policy and performance, and privatization and deregulation of utilities more generally. It will also appeal to academics and researchers of public sector, transport and industrial organization.

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