CCP Seminar: Two Surprises in Railways Restructuring

The CCP is delighted to welcome Russell Pittman (Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice) to the Centre this week. He will be revealing ‘Two Surprises in Railways Restructuring’ which is based on findings from 2 of his recent articles.  The seminar is to take place on Friday 17th May in Room 0.1 of the Thomas Paine Study Centre. An abstract for Russell’s seminar can be found below.


Policy analysts and scholars have devoted a great deal of attention in recent years to the roles of the old “natural monopoly” sectors in the economy.  As a result, both privatization and restructuring have been widely implemented, often with the goal of substituting competition for regulation where feasible – for example, in electricity generation, mobile telephony, and above-track railway operations.  This presentation reviews the main questions in these debates and then focuses on the railways sector, where very different reform strategies have been used on the two sides of the Atlantic, and where debates continue especially as one moves further east, with South Korea and Russia two prime examples.  These two countries exhibit two “surprises” for long-term participants in the debate:  1) Perhaps it is possible to create above-track competition in passenger operations, and 2) Perhaps there is an alternative locus for “vertical separation” besides that between trains and tracks.

Further reading:

Russell Pittman, ‘The freight railways of the former Soviet Union, twenty years on: Reforms lose steam’ (2013) 6 Research in Transportation Business & Management 99-115; available via SciVerse ScienceDirect.

Russell Pittman and Sunghee Choi, ‘The Economics of Railways Restructuring in South Korea’ (2013); Working Paper available via SSRN.

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