Off the Beaten Track

This article describes how the European Community's policies on competition are applicable to the issue of track access. The Community's approach has been to set very general principles requiring that pathing priorities be fair, but leaving member states to overlay their own detail. There are two cardinal principles in the Community's approach, which applies to both international and domestic services: an organization that runs trains cannot also allocate paths nor can it decide charging. Train operators may bid for paths everywhere but other parties, such as intermodal operators, may only bid where national governments permit it. Since international trains pose a particular challenge, cooperation between infrastructure managers is often necessary to create an end-to-end path. Where infrastructure is congested, Community policy allows states and infrastructure managers significant freedom in deciding which traffic gets a path. The Community also allows an infrastructure manager to offer customers guaranteed capacity, but not individual paths, over the longer term. This allows the train operators to offer a continuing service to their customer each year.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01049680
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 8 2007 11:38AM