Market Share of Railway in Freight, Graphic: AARRail Freight

15 “no more true” beliefs keeping away from railways

Here are 15 wrong beliefs that keep companies away from railways:

Railway cannot be the main transport mode, vessels and trucks are.

Not in China, Russia, USA and Australia where share of railways in freight is more than 40%.

Market Share of Railway in Freight, Graphic: AAR

Market Share of Railway in Freight, Graphic: AAR

Railways always make loss.

Not everywhere. Freight transportation in USA is done completely by private sector, and they’re making money from railways. German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) is also one of the companies to make profit.

Railways always need support, not trucks.

Actually, the infrastructure of trucks are done by governments free of charge. The support to railways are mainly to construct and maintain infrastructure. The cost of problems to be solved because of trucks like congestion, accidents and repairs should be taken into account as well.

Railways are slowly, could not keep up with the development.

Not really. Railway freight had dropped by 50% in USA in last 30 years. High speed train technologies developed fast. Electric cars are still exception, but electric locos are almost standard.

Almost no transportation by rail in Turkey.

Despite many problems, 25 million ton is being carried by railways in Turkey annually. Although no connection to Asian side, each week, equivalent to 450 truck loads are carried by trains to Europe. Railway share is 4% in Turkey, and is planned to be increased to 15% in 10 years.

Roads have priority in Turkey, that will not change.

The investment budget of railways was 400 million TL in 2006, it’s 2,3 billion now. In 2010, for the first time since 1950, the budget for railways exceeded budget for roads. 70% of the railway network is renewed.

Private sector is not investing in railways.

There are 3000 wagons owned by private companies in Turkey. More than 20% of transportation is done by these wagons. (6 million ton in 2012).

Incentives for railways are not enough.

In the new “incentive program”, railway investments in any region are supported as if they’re in 5th region (the scale is from 1 to 6 where biggest incentives are given to 6).

Because of the state monopoly, railways cannot develop.

State monopoly ended in May of 2013 by new law. Private sector will be able to invest in both infrastructure and rolling stock soon.

Infrastructure in Turkey is weak.

It’s true that infrastructure is not strong enough. However most of it had been renewed, and is planned to be completed by 2018. 40% is signalized and is planned to be completed by 2023. 35% of network is electrified. By 2023 all will be, which means railways will be cheaper and more environment-friendly.

No access to many points.

That’s true. That’s why, construction of 4000 km new lines are scheduled, and there’s a target of accessing to all ports and industrial zones by rail. After all these, 100 million ton/year is planned to be carried by rail.

Weak connections to neighbor countries.

Actually there are existing connections to Iran, Syria, Iraq (via Syria), Armenia, Bulgaria and Greece. However, Syria and Armenia are closed for political reasons. So Iraq as well. Kars-Tbilis-Baku will be opened by next year. A direct connection to Iraq and an alternative connection to Iran which is facing with capacity problems currently) is within the plans of government.

Railway is expensive because of first and last miles.

That’s why TCDD is constructing 17 logistic centers. These centers and railway connected warehouses will make railways competitive for every load compared with trucks.

Only heavy loads can be carried by railway.

Yes, railway has advantage for the heavy and long loads which are expensive to carry by trucks. But finished vehicles, bulk loads, liquids and chemicals are also better to be transported by rail if right equipment is used.

There’s no advantage compared with trucks.

There are. Fixed tariff during the year(s), no problem of “no wagon” which is frequently faced in trucks, no delays due to traffic, weather, customs, low risk of accidents and damages, no weekend restrictions.

2 replies »

  1. Rails are now important part of all transportation in many countries. The development of rail transportation is continuously growing. Government should come up with more plans to make it better as it helps to increase economy of country and also provide employment to the citizens.


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