A railroad company or railway company is an organization that operates a railroad track or trains. The company can either be private or public. Some railway companies operate both the trains and the track. In other cases, particularly in European Union (EU), ownership of track and train operation is run by separate companies. In the United States the railroad track system is owned by the railroad companies. In the 1800s, the federal government gave large land grants to the railroads.
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Many countries have a national railway company that owns all track and operates all trains in the country. For example, the Russian Railways (the world's largest rail company by network size). Other countries have many different, sometimes competing, railway companies that operate each their own lines. This is true in the United States and Canada.
In Europe, the EU requires its members to split the railway companies into a number of different companies. Usually public owned companies own the track and other public companies (sometimes owned by regional governments) own the train cars. Franchising is then used to determine the right to operate the line for a limited time period. A number of private companies bid for the right to operate. Other companies offer track and train car maintenance.