Germany and the deregulation of its railways

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Bertil Hylen

EU Member States have implemented EU rail legislation in various ways. Germany’s rail reform aimed at increasing rail transport and decreasing the sector’s public financial support. These objectives have generally been reached although opinions vary.

Germany and Sweden have several common features; Regional authorities are responsible for regional services, often tendered out in competition. Entry on the commercial long-distance market has been very limited. Sweden has fully separated infrastructure and operations while Germany retains infrastructure within the Deutsche Bahn group. This project analyses various aspects of the German railway regulatory framework and draw conclusions for Sweden and in general.

In Germany principles for capacity allocation and priorities in daily operations are uncertain and controversial. Framework agreements can only be signed for fixed five year periods or parts thereof and operators consider this too inflexible.

Incentive or Bonus/Malus agreements between infrastructure managers and operators have been tried in both countries. Little money changes hands but all parties agree that this area needs to be developed.

Access to maintenance facilities is regulated but some controversies exist. Rolling stock is an unregulated area but connected to capacity allocation – if a new entrant gets his capacity allocation too late he may not be able to acquire rolling stock in time for the start of operations.

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