In 1981, the eight S-Bahn systems of the Federal Republic of Germany carried around 7,000m passenger kilometres of traffic. By contrast, the local rail services operated by British Rail on behalf of the British Passenger Transport Executives were expected to carry around 2,000m passenger kilometres. (Table 1). The aim of this paper is to explore some of the reasons for this enormous difference is the role played by suburban rail systems between the two countries. As illustration, the particular cases of Munich and Greater Manchester will be discussed in somewhat more detail. \ud \ud In the first section, some issues of background information and history will be discussed. Following this, the organisational and financial arrangements regarding the provision of urban rail services in the two countries are explained. Public transport policies and the procedures for the evaluation of rail investments are then considered, and the interaction of all the various elements illustrated in case studies of Munich and Manchester. Finally, some comments on likely future developments are put forward
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