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Mind the services! High-speed rail cities bypassed by high-speed trains

Amparo Moyano and Frédéric Dobruszkes

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: Since high-speed rail (HSR) is designed primarily to connect large cities, it challenges how smaller cities en-route are still going to be serviced by rail. Scholars have focused mainly on cities bypassed by HSR that have experienced a decrease in conventional rail services or on how several smaller cities have nevertheless been able to secure appropriate facilities to be served by high-speed trains in the context of compromises between HSR travel time and political pressures. Indeed, local and regional authorities often do their best to secure specific rail infrastructures to accommodate HSR services. However, in their euphoria they usually forget to consider HSR operations. Yet it is the services supplied (routes, frequencies and timetables) that ultimately determine the utility of HSR for those smaller cities, and the real possibility of being connected to other cities. In this context, this paper complements the existing literature by revisiting the case for smaller en-route HSR cities through a service-oriented perspective. We examine four European case studies and find that cities that initially succeed in securing HSR infrastructure may still be bypassed to some extent. Reasons include intermodal competition based on travel time, insufficient potential markets for train companies seeking higher revenues and rail stations not being designed appropriately.

Keywords: High-speed rail; Bypass; Service supply; Servicing intermediate cities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Published in: Case studies on transport policy (2017) v.5 n° 4,p.537-548

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