14th March 2019, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

The Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Masaryk University and the Journal of Rail Transportation Planning and Management are pleased to announce a call for new research papers on the economics and policy of introducing on-track competition in rail passenger services. This is an important area in railway research and policy due to efforts to encourage on-track competition such as through the Fourth Railway Package of the European Union. However, railway operations and infrastructure require government subsidy if pricing reflects marginal cost, due to, amongst other factors, economies of density in infrastructure and the need to provide public service obligations. Competition may simple drive down fares, eliminating surpluses that contribute indirectly to infrastructure costs. As such there needs to be more than lower fares resulting from competition to justify such reforms.


  • Does on-track competition promote 'dynamic efficiency' i.e. innovation? How do open access operators differentiate themselves from the incumbent? What is the evidence on customer satisfaction with open access operators relative to incumbents? What has been the response of incumbent in terms of service offering?
  • What are the costs of open access operators relative to incumbents?
  • What is the evidence on profitability/subsidy requirement of the incumbent operators as a result of open access operations especially if the incumbent adopts Ramsey type pricing rules (to recover elements of fixed costs and to fund public service obligations)?
  • What are the regulation and competition policy challenges from introducing open access and how can they be overcome?
  • What are the implications of open access competition for track capacity and track access charges?
  • How can the incumbent and new Open Access services be integrated into one network?

Papers will be presented and discussed at workshop to be hosted in Brno, at Masaryk University, Czech Republic, 14th March 2019. The workshop will be coordinated by Professor Chris Nash, Dr. Phill Wheat and Dr. Zdeněk Tomeš. Following the workshop a special issue of the Journal of Railway Transport Planning and Management covering On-track Competition in Passenger Rail Services will be commissioned and edited by the workshop coordinators. Presented papers at the workshop will be invited to be considered for inclusion alongside a synthesis paper reporting on the outcomes of the workshop.


  • The deadline for submission of abstract: 30th September 2018
  • Notification of acceptance: 15th October 2018
  • The deadline for draft papers: 31st January 2019
  • The deadline for final papers for the journal special issue: 30th April 2019
  • The submission address is jandova@econ.muni.cz.