Often, when a railroad first opens, it is only a short spur of a main line.
The owner of the spur line may contract with the owner of the main line for operation of the contractee's trains, either as a separate line or as a branch with through service.
A major railroad may lease a connecting line from another company, usually the latter company's full system.
A typical lease results in the former railroad (the lessee) paying the latter company (the lessor) a certain yearly rate, based on maintenance, profit, or overhead, in order to have full control of the lessor's lines, including operation.
Where industrial lines met the railway network proper trains would be transferred from the industrial operator to British Rail control with non-British Rail locomotives and drivers never being permitted onto the British Rail network.
Arrangements existed whereby non-British Rail operators could own rolling stock.
The two companies have created a "mine gate" joint venture in which Fortescue will take BC's iron by rail to port in exchange for 50% of the deposit.
If the operating company goes bankrupt, the contract ends and the operated company must operate itself.
A union station or terminal railroad typically involves trackage rights; the company that owns the station and associated trackage is typically owned in part by the railroads that use it, which operate over it by trackage rights.
In some rights deals, the owner of the tracks runs no trains of its own.
This kind of arrangement can also be done via a partial lease.
In the United States, all trackage rights agreements are filed with the Surface Transportation Board and are available as a matter of public record.Stock ownership does not automatically result in merge of operations, merely in friendly policies towards each other.