The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), University of Leeds and the British Railways Board (BRB) carried out a major comparative study of Western European railways in the late 1970s (BRB and University of Leeds, 1979). Follow-up work was carried out by ITS financed by the Social Science Research Council and reported by Nash (1985). It was deaded to revive this work at ITS for a number of reasons: \ud \ud It is over ten years since the last set of comparisons (for 1981) were made at ITS and therefore a review of the changes in costs and productivity may be timely. \ud \ud There has been a number of technical developments that make the use of statistical cost analysis more promising. These developments include the use of more flexible functional forms such as the translog, and the development of comprehensive total factor productivity indices (see, for example, Dodgson, 1985 and, more recently, Hensher and Waters, 1993). \ud \ud There is increasing interest in the organisational structure of railway industries as a result of the 1988 Transport Act in Sweden, the EC directive 91/4-40 and the publication of proposals for privatising British Rail in July 1992 (see, for example, ECMT, 1993). \ud \ud Given the explosion in information technology, there were some hopes that data availability would have improved.\ud \ud (Continues..
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