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Better ride quality, attractive interiors, and reliable information are some of the vital expectations of passengers nowadays. Rolling stocks play a significant role in providing these features. According to a report by Fortune Business Insights™, the global market of rolling stocks is projected to reach USD 52.92 billion by 2027. The rising disposable incomes of people have resulted in the increasing demand for automotive vehicles across the globe. Therefore, governments of various countries are taking initiatives to improve rapid transit networks. Besides, railway transportation is cost-effective and eco-friendly. In April 2020, for instance, the Canadian National Railway invested around USD 3.9 billion to enhance rail infrastructure and locomotives in the Saskatchewan province.
Cancellation of Contracts and Reduced Travel to Hamper Growth amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2019, it has severely affected almost every industry worldwide and the rolling stock sector is not an exception. Europe has seen a rising number of contract terminations and rent reductions. Though it is unclear till how long the situation will persist, it is anticipated that lessors of this type of stocks will face certain requests for financial accommodation. As per WFW’s Assets & Structured Finance Group, in 2020, there was a decline of around 40% of passenger traffic in Europe. Also, freight transport reduced by 20% the same year. Such scenarios may affect growth negatively.
It is considered to be the world’s largest manufacturer of rolling stock in terms of revenue. Based in China, the company is a state-owned enterprise supervised by the State Council. Some of its subsidiaries include Dalian CRRC Daqi Railway, Nanjing Puzhen, Xi'an Railway, and Yangtze Railway.
In January 2021, CRRC Sifang Co., Ltd. joined hands with CRRC Chengdu and Chengdu Rail Transit Group to jointly develop the new-generation regional A-type train. It has a speed of 160km/h and can be connected with the Metro. This development will help the company to enhance its portfolio of regional railway trains.
Headquartered in France, the company is a renowned manufacturer. It majorly operates in rail transport markets and is very active in the fields of locomotives, signaling, and passenger transportation. It was formed in 1928 with the merger between Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques and Thomson-Houston Electric Company.
In April 2021, Alstom announced the acquisition of Flertex, a local manufacturer of brakes. More than 50% of the latter’s turnover comes from the railway sector. This new deal will help Alstom to enhance the technical performance of trains and improve braking systems.
Also known as Grupo CAF, it is a Spain-based manufacturer of buses, equipment, and railway vehicles. It has become a leading company in Spain through its major investments in the railway industry. It can manufacture almost any type of rail vehicle and has a wide range of technical capability.
In November 2020, for instance, a CAF-led project was chosen by the European Commission’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) for a grant worth €10 million for accelerating the development of a hydrogen-powered train prototype.
It is a South Korea-based manufacturer of plant equipment, defense products, and rolling stock. It was founded 43 years ago and is part of the Hyundai Motor Group. It has delivered several types of passenger coaches, high-speed trains, freight wagons, and locomotives to around 36 countries worldwide.
In January 2021, Korail, the national railway operator in South Korea started using a new fleet of EMU-250 high-speed trains developed by Hyundai Rotem. These are the first distributed-traction trains to operate in Korea. The trial run took place between Jecheon and Wonju.
In Russia, the company is considered to be the largest manufacturer of rail equipment and locomotives. Once it merged with LocoTech, it took the fourth place in the field of transport technology worldwide. It works actively with the Ministry of Transportation of the Russian Federation and JSC Russian Railways.
In January 2021, TMH declared that it delivered 226 third-class passenger coaches to the Egyptian National Railways with dynamic ventilation. Though it was challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company still managed to keep up with the high delivery tempo.
It is a multinational conglomerate based in Germany. The major divisions of this company are Infrastructure & Cities, Healthcare, Energy, and Industry. As per the earning release, in 2019, its global revenue was €87 billion. Its Mobility segment covers all the crucial areas of freight and passenger transportation.
In March 2021, VTG Rail Europe GmbH signed a contract with Siemens Mobility GmbH for testing the state-of-the-art Brake Monitoring System (BMS). It will be used in freight trains to enhance their operational capability. It can also reduce emissions in the atmosphere.
It is a Swiss manufacturer of railway rolling stock. It emphasizes trams and regional trains. It has nine subsidiaries based in the U.S., Belarus, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Algeria, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany.
In April 2020, Stadler received an order of 60 InterRegio double-deck trains from SBB. The total deal is worth USD 1.3 billion. It will enable SBB to expand its regional services and enhance its pre-existing fleet.
It is a multinational corporation based in Japan. The company produces rolling stock, motorcycles, aerospace & defense equipment, heavy equipment, and engines. It is also active in the manufacturing of industrial products, boilers, gas turbines, and industrial robots.
In March 2021, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. developed a wholly-owned subsidiary named Kawasaki Railcar Manufacturing Co., Ltd. It will help in creating a unique system to take flexible and agile measures, such as collaborations and strategic alliances with other firms to fulfil the demand for railway systems.
It is one of the major companies in the field of passenger transport. It first delivered the Shinkansen bullet train vehicles in 1964 to accord with the Tokyo Olympics. It continues to provide innovative Shinkansen in Japan and exports driverless technologies for passengers, metros, and trams across the globe.
In March 2021, Hitachi Rail Washington, LLC bagged a new contract worth USD 2.2 billion from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. It would enable the former to develop and design the 8000-series railcar vehicle.
It is a renowned manufacturer of business jets headquartered in Canada. In the initial phase, it used to manufacture recreational vehicles, trains, public transport vehicles, and commercial jets. Some of its world famous series of corporate jets are Learjet 70/75, Global 7500, Challenger 300, Challenger 600, and Global Express.
In April 2021, Bombardier opened its new Line Maintenance Station to expand its tip-to-tail maintenance services at Geneva Airport. It would include highly-skilled technicians for the maintenance of business jets. It would help the company to provide better solutions to aircraft and crew members.
Will Comfort Level and Performance of Trains Define the Future of this Industry?
The railway industry is evolving rapidly with the emergence of various digital technologies. These technologies are playing a vital role in the maintenance and running of tracks. At the same time, the performance and comfort of trains have become a significant part of the industry. In future, the sector is expected to become highly competitive. The utilization of modular designs and advanced materials will be more prominent. According to the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, for instance, the Mat4Rail project of the EU started in July 2020 will help in lowering the train weight by using fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) instead of metal parts. Such initiatives by regulatory bodies are likely to help the industry grow in the upcoming years.