Topic: 1.5 Heavy Rail

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Economic Efficiency of Railways and Implications for Public Policy: A Comparative Study of the OECD Countries’ Railways

The productive efficiency of the railway systems in 19 OECD countries is analysed. The empirical results show that: (i) railway systems with high dependence on public subsidies are significantly less efficient than similar railways with less dependence on subsidies; (ii) railways with a high degree of managerial autonomy from regulatory authorities tend to achieve higher efficiency.

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Demand Forecasting for New Local Rail Stations and Services

It is concluded that aggregate approaches to forecasting demand may be appropriate for cheap investments, such as new stations, or an initial assessment of a wide range of options. For detailed consideration of expensive investments, such as new rail services, disaggregate methods based on RP and or SP data should be considered.

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Railway Costs and Planning

Railway planners have chronically failed to recognise excess capacity. A longer view must be taken. The principles have long been understood; all that is needed is the will of governments and managers to apply them.

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Railway Costs and Closures

The network studies in the recent Serpell Report provide conclusive evidence that substantial savings would result from closure of lightly used railway lines. Political opposition to closures has been helped by deficiencies in railway costing and by excessive importance attached to contributory revenue.

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