Benefits of international railway connections

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific


Railway closures in Western Europe, ongoing since the twenties, have affected international links more than national networks. The Dutch domestic railway network has shrunk by 20 % since 1930, while the number of international links to Germany and Belgium decreased by 67 % and 75 %, respectively. Today, the Dutch domestic network density is more than triple the density of the international network. One may hypothesize that international railway tracks have, because of their much lower density, primarily a linking function between the domestic networks of the different countries. Many of their passengers may be transferring to and from the domestic networks on which they travel many kilometres. Therefore, the marginal revenue per traveller may be high at international links. A low travel demand, one of the main motives for track closures, should therefore be a relatively weak motive for closing international tracks. The hypothesis is verified by a study on two international railway links with a low travel demand between the Netherlands and Germany. The average distance of train passengers was 6 and 11 times the length of the international tracks. Closure of the tracks, with bus replacement service, is estimated to reduce total passenger kilometres by 55%: 3 and 6 times the passenger kilometres on the tracks itself. Conclusions from this are: Firstly, careful assessment is warranted with closing international railway links; they may be more profitable than they seem at first sight. Secondly, it is preferable to operate international connections by a company that also operates one of the connecting networks.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationModelling for transportation systems planning
Editors Piet H.L. Bovy, Remmelt Thijs
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherDUP Satellite
ISBN (Print)90-407-2274-9
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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