Definitions

private corporation

Private railway

A private railroad is a railroad run by a private corporation, as opposed to a railroad run by a public sector.

Japan

In Japan, refers to a railway line owned and operated by private sector. Although Japan Railways Group companies are private entities, they are not considered private railways because of their unique status as the successors of the Japanese National Railways (JNR). In a traditional sense, even voluntary sector railways are not included by their origins as the rural, non-profitable JNR line transferred to local possession as a form of joint stock corporation/company (Kabushiki kaisha).

Among private railways in Japan, 15 companies are categorized as "major", such as Odakyu, Keikyu, Meitetsu, Tokyu. They are often profitable and less expensive (to ride) than publicly run railways. Private railways also run a variety of other businesses, such as hotels, department stores and real estate.

United States

In the United States, a private railroad is a railroad owned by a company and serves only that company, and does not hold itself out as a "common carrier" (i.e., it does not provide rail transport services for the general public).

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