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Giovanni Esposito, Julia Doleschel, Tobias Kaloud and Jadwiga Urban-Kozlowska

This chapter focuses on the transformations of the European rail sector over the last decades and is organized in two parts. First, it describes the change by providing a historical overview of the reform context, referring to the main aspects of the organizational change experienced by the European rail industries. Second, it assesses the change by empirically investigating the way regulatory innovations have influenced prices, investments and quality of European rail services between 1996 and 2013. On the one hand, it shows that, despite the formal improvement of market access regulation, in several European countries reforms have achieved mixed results and state-controlled structures still play a crucial role in the organization and management of rail industries. On the other, our empirical outcomes show that unlike reformers’ taken-for-granted beliefs on this topic, there is no clear evidence that liberalization reforms are correlated with lower prices for rail service users.