Rail Infrastructure Charging Systems for High-Speed Lines in Europe

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, economics - pricing, economics - appraisal/evaluation, economics - willingness to pay


rail infrastructure, Europe, infrastructure charging, high-speed lines (HSLs)


In the European railway framework, the expenses of rail infrastructure costs are partly covered by the governments and partly by the infrastructure managers through the infrastructure charges that operators pay to them for rendering services in the infrastructure they manage. However, the extent to which infrastructure charges cover infrastructure costs is higher for high-speed lines (HSLs) than for conventional lines. This communication characterizes the infrastructure charging systems for HSLs implemented in Europe and analyses the level of charges applied to these lines with the aim of quantifying and analysing the mark-ups above marginal cost that are being charged to high-speed services running in the European HSLs. The survey covers France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Belgium. Neither The Netherlands nor the UK are covered: the former does not commercially exploit HSLs yet, whereas the latter renders passenger transport services by means of franchised passenger train operators. The results obtained show that, despite the great differences between charging systems for HSLs, important mark-ups above marginal costs are applied by all the systems analysed and that common features between them can be established.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor & Francis, copyright remains with them.