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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to understand the main market entry barriers confronted by the new operators in liberalized railway freight market (Poland and Sweden), as well as to analyze the inaugurating market of Finland. Design/methodology/approach
‐ Swedish and Polish markets were scrutinized utilizing qualitative case study, implemented through semi-structured theme interviews. Among primary observations, numerous second-hand sources were used to gain triangulation. Research was conducted during early 2009. The Finnish material
was collected with Delphi technique-based questionnaires in 2005. Findings ‐ The main findings support previous studies arguing that the main barriers to entry are rolling stock acquisition, needed investments and bureaucracy. In Sweden, companies were start-ups established
on the grounds of the incumbent. The Polish market obtained new operators via vertical integration with a significant competitive presence of a governmental operator. Inaugurating Finnish market is identified as a combination of these two. Therefore, it is easier to understand why new entrants
are not operating in the Finnish market. Originality/value ‐ The research contributes novel, first-hand data to the subject, which earlier have been studied mostly via second-hand data and literature analyses.