Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Notes on the sidelines, part I.

First of all, while traffic did increase significantly (from 0.72 billion ton-kilometres in national and 3.02 in international traffic in 1995 to 1.03/4.71 billion by 2003), ex NS Cargo/Railion Nederland still carries the bulk of railfreight in the Netherlands (70%), and Railion is effectively the freight branch of the German state railways (though AFAIK NS still has a share in it) -- not the best example of private vs. state.

Second, even if the article tells of problems for cross-border traffic, from my above numbers, it should be obvious that the latter traffic (above all transports between Dutch ports and German producers/buyers) already dominates, and even showed higher growth. In fact, one could say that it was the growth of cross-border traffic that pulled the domestic services with them (via synergies and enough profit to invest), what's more, the merger into Railion brought the plus that a lot of German freight diesel locomotives (some of which were pulled off newly electrified lines, though more from closed branchlines and marshalling yards...) ended up in Railion Nederland's hands, reinvigorating local traffic (shunters, small diesels) as well as cross-border traffic without changing locomotives (big ex-East-German Russian diesels).

I will only submit that ACTS and the German privates also focused on the profitable ports to industrial centres in Germany and beyond traffic. But overall, I think most of the boom is down to the port's boom, and as for the rest, the same growth would have been possible if only NS Cargo is merged into Railion to turn the latter a bi-state company, or even if national railways remained but governments had chosen to actively push the same border-crossing measures Railion did.  And at the same time, while the Netherlands was lucky to be on highly profitable lines, in the entirety of Germany, Netherlands and Denmark (which can be taken together because Railion dominates each), the picture is ore problematic -- neglect and underfunding and closures were simply relayed to other areas.

On a more broad note, in continental Europe, and especially in the Switzerland many bring up as example, a lot of so-called private railways are actually majority-owned by public bodies -- state, region, city.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 11th, 2007 at 04:32:08 AM EST

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