The paper provides a critical discussion on the current European policies to promote an effective competition in rail market. In the last fifteen years European Union promotes the idea that the criteria used to liberalize other public utilities could be applied for railway. This approach seems not to take fully into account the specific characteristics of rail sector: high fixed costs, high technological integration between rolling stock and track, high intermodal competition, high level of public investments and resulting political risk. Experiences show that such policies, alone, can not solve the structural weakness of the sector to promote competition. Effective policies on regulation and infrastructure development are needed, to boost the competitive position of railway and attract private investments.