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The development of international passenger rail services from 2007 to 2016: The case of Switzerland

Widar von Arx, Vu Thi Thao, Philipp Wegelin, Simon Maarfield and Jonas Frölicher

Research in Transportation Economics, 2018, vol. 69, issue C, 326-336

Abstract: Over the past twenty years, the European Union has been undertaking important rail reforms to boost the growth of rail traffic. Yet this is often presented in the literature as if the outcome of these reforms is rather modest. Drawing on a case study of Switzerland, this paper aims to look more closely at this discourse by examining the ways in which international passenger rail services (IPRS) are organized, how they perform and what factors influence their performance. Our findings stress that the development of IPRS has been somewhat more positive. Overall, service quality has increased, with more direct connections increasing their frequencies and shortening travel times, and night trains to southern and eastern Europe still being maintained. Nonetheless, IPRS are still not exploiting the full potential of the market due to a lack of market attractiveness, inconsistent service quality, high production costs, complexity, uncertainty and risks. IPRS are basically operated in accordance with three business models: the cooperative production model, the joint venture model, and the intramodal competition model. Our paper also suggests that the characteristics of these business models may have different degrees of impact on the development of IPRS.

Keywords: International passenger rail services (IPRS); Night train; Competition; Business model; European market; Switzerland (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L1 M2 R4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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