Shared Use of Railway Tracks

This section looks at PPP railway projects providing for shared use of the railway tracks.

Shared use of railway tracks can take place as track access or haulage:

  • Track access is a mechanism whereby the manager of railway infrastructure permits a railway operator to run passenger or freight trains on its railway tracks. The infrastructure manager is typically but not necessarily the owner of the railway tracks.

  • Haulage is the transport of freight by a railway operator for third parties. The railway operator can either use its own locomotives and wagons to haul third-party freight or its own locomotives to haul third-party wagons. The railway operator can also be the manager and/or owner of the railway tracks.

The conditions for shared use are specified in the contractual framework, for example in the concession, operating or franchise agreements, or the track access or haulage agreements. Ideally there is a clear regulatory framework that sets out specific rules for shared use and provides for an independent regulator for dispute resolution complements the contractual framework.

Please find below models for track access, haulage and concession agreements that provide for shared use of railway tracks, examples of railway laws and regulations, materials on cross-border railway traffic as well as links to regulatory authorities:

Note: The laws and regulations on this website, and their respective agreements, use the terminology below:

Railway Infrastructure

The exact scope of the term depends on the underlying access regime. It is used in this section of the website to refer to all track facilities such as railway tracks, signaling and safety systems (sometimes also referred to as “below rail” infrastructure).
“Above Rail” Infrastructure Refers to rolling stock and rolling stock-related infrastructure such as train stations and maintenance yards.
Rolling Stock Refers to locomotives, wagons or any other vehicles for use on railway tracks.
Infrastructure Manager The manager of the railway infrastructure is generally referred to as “infrastructure manager,” “IM,” or “access provider.”
Railway Operator The operator of railway services is generally referred to as “railway undertaking,” “RU,” “railway operator,” or simply “operator."


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Updated: October 10, 2021