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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The measurement of railway operating performance with an application to Pakistan Railways Mian, Abdul Waheed


Though rail transport plays a significant role in national economies and development, no standard method for evaluating railroad operating performance exists. In this study, a comprehensive and accurate performance evaluation system for total railway performance is developed. Railroad operation involves three conceptual types of dimensions: technical, service quality, and economic. Main activities of rail operations are categorized by each of these dimensions and measured over a suitable time span. The multi-faceted nature of these activities makes it important that a number of measures be employed in the analysis. A specific combination of statistical indicators required to accurately measure each activity is selected from an extensive list of performance measures (identified in the study). The criteria used in the selection is discussed. A qualitative analysis accompanies the quantitative measures as it is essential to take into account various environmental and institutional factors. Evaluation of a railway's operating performance employs both intra-rai1 road analysis (performance of a railroad over time) and a comparison with other railroads. Such a combined analysis ensures a wider perspective and leads to a comprehensive assessment of performance. The average annual growth rate (obtained by regression analysis) is used as a yardstick for gauging relative performance levels. The procedure developed here is applied to evaluate the total operating performance of Pakistan Railways for the period 1968 through 1977. The Saint Louis San Francisco Railway Company (of the United States) is chosen for comparison. The analysis indicates that in 1968, technical, service quality and economic performance of Pakistan Railways were quite below those of modern railroads in the world. And during 1968 through 1977, there was virtually no improvement. In fact, efficiency declined in almost all aspects of rail operation and financial losses incurred. Meanwhile, other railroads continued to make their operations yet more efficient and profitable. In addition, the analysis contrasts the differing performance levels between railway systems in developed and less developed countries. Finally, recommendations are suggested for improving the evaluation system developed as well as the efficiency of operations on Pakistan Railways.

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