In Japan, private railway (私鉄 or 民鉄 Shitetsu or Mintetsu ) 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.
In many cases, The operators of a subways are contained in major private railways.
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).
People's Republic of China
In 2006, the Luoding Railway (simplified Chinese: 罗定铁路; traditional Chinese: 羅定鐵路; pinyin: Luódìng Tiělù) was sold to Shenzhen China Technology Industry Group Corporation Limited (simplified Chinese: 深圳市中技实业 (集团) 有限公司; traditional Chinese: 深圳市中技實業 (集團)有限公司) through auction, and became the first and only one private railway in People's Republic of China.
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