This paper aims to clarify issues regarding shared rail corridors from a public policy perspective. It presents an overview of the relationships between the main stakeholders operating trains on North America’s rail networks: the railway companies that own the rail infrastructure and use it to provide freight services to shippers, and the passenger service operators—which are primarily public agencies that pay railway companies for track access and other services required to operate commuter and intercity passenger trains. The issues at stake are of concern to the policy and business community alike, because congestion on railway lines affects commuter rail, intercity passenger trains, and long-distance freight trains. In addition to the obvious economic costs of delays or less-reliable transit times in passenger and freight rail, respectively, adverse environmental and social impacts (e.g., higher accident rates on roadways) arise if either freight or passenger traffic shifts from rail to roadways. An earlier version of this paper was published by the Conference Board of Canada in September 2010.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.