East Coast Goes to Europe

The Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) has filed a complaint with the European Union charging that preferential track access charges paid by open-access operators amount to illegal state aid. This article discusses this complaint, and explains what its ramifications could be for the UK railroad industry. GNER has previously argued that the access-charging regime is unfair and distorts competition because franchise operators are obliged to pay both fixed and variable charges to use the UK railroad network, while open-access operators only pay variable charges to do the same thing. The state aid complaint is unlikely to benefit GNER directly, since the result is likely to be too late for GNER even if the European Commission decides to conduct a full investigation. However, the complaint could have implications for the industry since it may mean a rethinking of the UK access charging regime just as the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) embarks on its periodic review of access charges, due to conclude in time for implementation in April 2009. This would mean that the ORR would have to start all over again.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Hopkinson, Raichel
    • Skelton, Zara
  • Publication Date: 2007-2


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01046555
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 1 2007 9:44PM