After collecting information on 166 high speed rail (HSR) projects across the world, this working paper examines some of the most relevant empirical issues related to the development of this transport mode in recent years. We start by discussing the economic definition of HSR, trying to identify different HSR ex- ploitation models. Our next step consists in providing what could be considered a representative cost of building high speed infrastructure. A similar analysis is carried out regarding operating, maintenance and external costs. Finally, we study current demand and its projections, and try to draw some patterns about its future evolution, particularly within Europe and in the 2020 horizon.
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