New report | Track Access Charges: How to reconcile conflicting objectives?


Brussels, 9 May 2018 – Today, the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), a Brussels-based think-tank specialised in the regulation of network industries, releases a new report on track access charges. The report provides recommendations to authorities and infrastructure managers for setting efficient access charges.

European rail policy has significantly evolved over the past years towards an integrated European railway area. With the Fourth Railway Package, Europe went a step further in completing the opening of the rail market. However, there remain conflicting objectives with the setting of track access charges, and with that a patchwork of charging systems.


There are notable differences in access charges for passenger and freight trains, and significantly divergent approaches between Member States, depending partly on the infrastructure historically in place”, says CERRE Research Fellow Professor Chris Nash. “With this report, we look at the complex multiplicity of systems and whether levels of track access charges in Europe appropriately reflect costs”.


This new report examines and researches systems in place in four EU Member States (Great Britain, Sweden, France and Germany). It provides a review of the different approaches and recommendations, specifically with regards to:

  • direct cost of wear and tear on the infrastructure;
  • congestion and scarcity;
  • mark-ups to maintain efficiency of infrastructure use.


In addition to the need for efficient rail access charges, progress in pricing needs to be made on all transportation modes simultaneously. Transport pricing is not an issue that can be addressed for one mode in isolation. Without the political will to do so, rail transport will not be able to compete”, concludes Nash. The main findings of the report are presented today in Brussels during an Executive Seminar. The full report can be accessed on CERRE’s website.



Lauriane Giet     

Senior Communication Manager          

+32 (0) 2 226 97 43



Through top quality studies and dissemination activities, the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) promotes robust and consistent regulation in Europe’s network and digital industries. CERRE’s members are regulatory authorities and operators as well as universities.



The views expressed in this report are attributable only to the authors in a personal capacity and not to any institution with which they are associated, neither to CERRE, nor to any sponsor or (other) member of CERRE.