Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Review of Network Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Grzybowski, Lukasz

Ed. by Briglauer, Wolfgang / Goetz, Georg / Pereira, Pedro

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.080
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.803

CiteScore 2018: 0.39

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.941
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.182

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 16, Issue 2


Public Budget Contributions to the European Rail Sector

An in Depth Analysis for Eight Countries

Jan Thomas Schäfer / Georg GötzORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7878-6726
Published Online: 2018-04-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rne-2017-0044


This paper provides an analysis of the funding structure of the railways in eight European countries. It updates and expands the well-known database on public contributions to rail, which has initially been published by [NERA (2004) Study of the Financing of and Public Budget Contributions to Railways: A Final Report for European Commission, DG TREN. London: NERA National Economic Research Associates.]. The analysis shows that there are large differences concerning the focus of granted funds which can be explained by different policy objectives, differences in the level and degree of network access charges and different cost coverage ratios of public transport services. We identify a tendency towards two main financing models. In our data-set countries either focus their support payments on the operation of the infrastructure, which implies lower network charges and thus a lower amount of necessary Public Service Compensations, or they focus on the support of transport services with a higher degree of cost coverage of network charges and thus a lower amount of operating contributions paid to the infrastructure manager. The structure of funds, different approaches of infrastructure financing and differences in the treatment of historical debt are likely to have an influence on the performance of the investigated railway systems.

Keywords: contributions; Europe; financing; public budget; railways; subsidies

JEL Classification: R42; R48; L92; H54


  • Arrigo, U. and G. Di Foggia (2013) “Schemes and Levels of State Aid to Rail Industry in Europe: Evidences from a Cross-Country Comparison,” European Journal of Business and Economics, 8(3):14–20.Google Scholar

  • Arrigo, U. and G. Di Foggia (2014) “Policy-Oriented Insights to Enhance Effectiveness and Efficiency of Public Spending: Comparing the Determinants of Subsidies to Railways in Key European Countries,” International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research (IJMSR), 2(11):23–35.Google Scholar

  • Banverket (2008) Swedish Rail Sector Development: Banverket’s sector report.Google Scholar

  • Beck, A., H. Bente and M. Schilling (2013) “Railway Efficiency – An Overview and a Look at Opportunities for Improvement,” International Transport Forum, Discussion Paper (2013–2012).Google Scholar

  • Best, A., B. Görlach, H. van Essen, A. Schroten, U. Becker and R. Gerike (2006) “Size, Structure and Distribution of Transport Subsidies in Europe: A Report to the European Environment Agency,” Final Report, 11 December 2006.Google Scholar

  • Bundesamt für Statistik BFS (2013) Schweizerische Eisenbahnrechnung 2011.Google Scholar

  • Dehornoy, J. (2011) The Evolution of Public Funding to the Rail Sector in 5 European Countries – A Comparison. In: Fourth Annual Competition and Regulation in Network Industries (CRNI) Conference. Brussels.Google Scholar

  • Deville, X. and F. Verduyn (2012) Implementation of EU Legislation on Rail Liberalisation in Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands: NBB Working Paper No 221. Brussels: National Bank of Belgium.Google Scholar

  • ECORYS Nederland BV (2006) Analysis of the financial situation of railway undertakings in the European Union: Report to the European Commission DG-TREN. Rotterdam: ECORYS Nederland BV.Google Scholar

  • Engel, E., R. Fischer and A. Galetovic (2010) “The Economics of Infrastructure Finance: Public-Private Partnerships Versus Public Provision,” EIB Papers, 15(1):40–69.Google Scholar

  • European Commission (2007) Annexes to the Communication on Monitoring Development of the Rail Market: Commission Staff Working Document, COM (2007) 609. Brussels.Google Scholar

  • European Commission (2008a) Community Guidelines on State Aid for Railway Undertakings, Communication from the Commission 2008/C 184/07. Official Journal of the European Union, C 184/13. Brussels, 22.07.2008.Google Scholar

  • European Commission (2008b) Multi-annual Contracts for Rail Infrastructure Quality: Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, COM(2008) 54 final. Brussels.Google Scholar

  • European Commission (2014) Fourth report on monitoring development of the rail market: Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, COM(2014) 353 final, Brussels, 13.06.2014.Google Scholar

  • Eurostat (2005) Three decisions on Italy: SCIP, ISPA and Concessionari d’imposta: Euro-Indicators News Release 65/2005. Luxembourg: Eurostat Press Office.Google Scholar

  • Eurostat (2008) Methodological Treatment of the Capital Injections into RENFE-Operadora in 2006: Letter to Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Madrid. Luxembourg: European Commission, Eurostat Directorate C: National and European Accounts.Google Scholar

  • Finger, M., Y. Putallaz and D. van de Velde (2015) Solid Infrastructure Financing for Efficient Rail Systems: Results of an Workshop Organized by SNCF Group’s Strategy Team.Google Scholar

  • Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (2007) Methodological Treatment of the Capital Injections into ADIF: Letter from the National Statistics Office to Eurostat. Madrid, Spain.Google Scholar

  • Laurino, A., F. Ramella and P. Beria (2015) “The Economic Regulation of Railway Networks: A Worldwide Survey,” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 77:202–212.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Nash, C. (2008) “Passenger Railway Reform in the Last 20 years–European Experience Reconsidered,” Research in Transportation Economics, 22(1):61–70.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Nash, C. (2010) “European Rail Reform and Passenger Services – The Next Steps,” Research in Transportation Economics, 29(1):204–211.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Nash, C., J.-E. Nilsson and H. Link (2011) Comparing Three Models for Introduction of Competition into Railways – Is a Big Wolf so Bad After All? CTS Working Paper 2011:19, Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm.Google Scholar

  • NERA (2004) Study of the Financing of and Public Budget Contributions to Railways: A Final Report for European Commission, DG TREN. London: NERA National Economic Research Associates.Google Scholar

  • NERA (2005) Public Budget Contributions to the Railways: A Report to Deutsche Bahn AG. London: NERA National Economic Research Associates.Google Scholar

  • OECD (2010) The PSE Manual – OECD’s Producer Support Estimate and Related Indicators of Agricultural Support. Paris: OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorat.Google Scholar

  • Perkins, S. (2005) The Role of Government in European Railway Investment and Funding. China Railway Investment and Finance Reform Forum, Beijing, China.Google Scholar

  • RGL Forensics, Frontier Economics and Aecom (2009) Study on Separation of Accounts of Railway Undertakings and Rail Infrastructure Managers: Final Report for the European Commission.Google Scholar

  • Steer Davis Gleave (2005) RAILIMPLEMENT – Implementation of EU Directives 2001/12/EC, 2001/13/EC and 2001/14/EC: Final Report for the European Commission, Directorate General for Energy and Transport. Steer Davies Gleave, Bologna, Italy.Google Scholar

  • Valsecchi, C., P. ten Brink, S. Bassi, S. Withana, M. Lewis, A. Best, F. Oosterhuis, C. Dias Soares, H. Rogers-Ganter and T. Kapenhengst (2009) Environmentally Harmful Subsidies: Identification and Assesment: Final report for the European Commission’s DG Environment. Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), London and Brussels.Google Scholar

  • van de Velde, D., C. Nash, A. Smith, F. Mizutani, S. Uranishi, M. Lijesen and F. Zschoche (2012) EVES-Rail, Economic Effects of Vertical Separation in the Railway Sector: Full Technical Report for CER, Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Companies, by inno-V (Amsterdam) in Cooperation with University of Leeds – ITS, Kobe University, VU Amsterdam University and Civity Management Consultants.Google Scholar

About the article

Corresponding author: Georg Götz, Professor, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Giessen, Germany

Published Online: 2018-04-30

Published in Print: 2017-06-26

Funding: Jan Schäfer thanks Deutsche Bahn AG for funding a PhD fellowship.

Citation Information: Review of Network Economics, Volume 16, Issue 2, Pages 89–123, ISSN (Online) 1446-9022, ISSN (Print) 2194-5993, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rne-2017-0044.

Export Citation

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Monika Jandová and Tomáš Paleta
Journal of Rail Transport Planning & Management, 2019, Page 100145

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in