Rail industry worldwide - Statistics & Facts

The rail industry comprises of sale, manufacture, and operation of railway technology. Rail transportation, primarily consisting of freight shipments and passenger service, plays a vital role in the economy of many countries.

The world’s railway network spans over 1.3 million route-kilometers worldwide. The United States operates by far the longest railroad network in the world, closely followed by Russia, China, India, Canada, Germany, and France. Japan was adjudged number one in the ranking of countries with the highest quality infrastructure for railroads in 2019.

The average annual market volume of railway technology in North America is forecasted to reach around 32 billion euros by 2023. Western Europe will be the region with the highest market volume. Asia Pacific accounts for the largest rail passenger traffic globally. In 2017, passengers in the region traveled over 2.2 trillion passenger kilometers on railways.

In 2018, the leading railway vehicle manufacturer was CRRC Corporation. The company is a state-owned enterprise headquartered in Beijing and formed in June 2015 from the merger of China CNR Corporation and CSR Corporation Limited, the leading rolling stock manufacturers in the world. In the fiscal year of 2017, CRRC generated operating revenue to the value of 32 billion U.S. dollars.

In response to the intensified competition and efforts to push past the Chinese manufacturer, France’s Alstom and Canada's Bombardier announced to merge both their railway manufacturing units in February 2020. Earlier in February 2019, the European Commission announced that it will not allow Siemens’ planned takeover of Alstom as it would have significantly reduced competition in the railroad signaling and very high-speed train markets.

In North America, one of the leading railroad company based on revenue was Union Pacific. In 2019, the company generated over 21.7 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

U.S. railroads are divided into Class I railroads and other railroads. Between 1995 and 2012, the number of Class I railroads declined from eleven to seven railroads. The number of other railroads increased to 567 in 2012.

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Rail industry worldwide

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Rolling stock


Interesting Statista reports

  • Statista Industry Report - NAICS Code 482

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