Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - pricing, place - europe, place - urban, place - low density, mode - rail


United States, Railroad commuter service, Pricing, Infrastructure, Greece, European Union, Europe, Commuter rail, Case studies, AMEL (Greece), Access


Until recently, Europe was dominated by state-owned, vertically integrated railroads. Lately, European Union (EU) policies and relevant legislation have introduced the legal separation between railroad operations and infrastructure management. Thus, the railroad infrastructure management companies have started applying charges (termed access pricing) to railroad companies for using infrastructure. Although European policies and legislation set the basic access pricing principles, they did not provide specific rules or methods for deriving infrastructure charging systems. An access pricing system for suburban (commuter) rail services was developed. An overview of practices in EU member states and the United States is presented. The basic principles and economic characteristics of infrastructure charging are outlined. The proposed structure of the infrastructure charging system is discussed, with a distinction between the basic charge--which includes costs for train planning and line operations, infrastructure damage and wear and tear costs, and quality of services--and additional components. Each component is mathematically expressed. The proposed charging system does not include costs related to train operations. To test the robustness of the proposed system, it is applied to the suburban rail services provided by the Greek company AMEL, with trains running on the Greek railroads infrastructure. The proposed infrastructure charging system can be applied to any railroad by changing the variable values.