|Environmental Handbook Volume I: Introduction, Cross-sectoral Planning, Infrastructure (GTZ, 1995, 591 p.)|
|18. Railways and railway operation|
The sector of railways and railway operation encompasses the construction of railway lines and systems as well as actual railway operation.
The railway sector is strongly characterised by its economic environment; its aim is to provide transport services by rail, making use of relevant resources. Its efficiency depends on the resources used, the manner in which they are employed and the infrastructure of fixed-location facilities.
Various kinds of tractive power are used, mainly diesel locomotives. The types of waggons and loading facilities and the operations management depend on the volumes of passengers and goods carried. For the transport of hazardous materials, special requirements must be met in order to avoid the risk of environmental damage.
To a greater extent than other sectors, such as agriculture or the foodstuffs industry, railways largely use standard technologies, so that the potential environmental effects and the means of avoiding them are largely similar.
Railways generally have their own comprehensive infrastructures, normally encompassing all rolling stock and track. They undertake tasks which are also performed by commercial operators, such as engine maintenance works.
Railways are generally state-run, although other companies are often responsible for monitoring observance of government regulations.