The Regulation of European Railway Stations

The Regulation of European Railway Stations


Edward O'Loughlin, WSP Group, Miguel Amaral, ARAF


This study investigates the relative efficiency of the different economic tools available to regulate access by train operators to stations.


The major organisational changes characterising rail passenger services in Europe have generated a range of theoretical discussions, especially from an industrial economics perspective (e.g. Staropoli and Yvrande-Billon 2009, Friebel et al. 2010). Surprisingly, little has been said about the regulation of railway stations. By contrast, the regulation of airports has been the subject of numerous theoretical and empirical works (e.g. Beesley 1999, Starkie 2001, Czerny 2006). A first objective of the paper is to fill this gap by investigating the specific case of the regulation of railway stations. More precisely, the research question we address, quoting examples from across Europe, is the following: should the regulation of railway stations take a single till, double till or a hybrid form?
The paper provides a detailed review of the theoretical and empirical studies on this issue and highlights the fact that the relative efficiency of single till and double till is a question that has not been satisfactorily answered. We show, using examples, that the trade-off between the two approaches depends on a number of determinants such as the level of financial transparency and the ability to distinguish the revenues and costs involved in the regulated and the commercial activities of stations, individually or collectively.


Association for European Transport