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The global check rails market size was valued at USD 8.10 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 8.30 billion in 2023 to USD 10.65 billion by 2030, expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.61% over the forecast period.
Check rails are the extra rails provided to reduce the wear of rails in sharp curves. On curves, they are used to increase track resistance to wheel flange derailment. These are used to increase track resistance to wheel flange derailment. They are also installed in curved tracks where high rail wear is severe, which reduces the frequency and cost of replacing high rails.
The rail system is used for various economic activities such as freight transportation and transshipment. The rail system is inexpensive compared to other modes of transportation. Therefore, it has become an integral part of many companies. Moreover, rapid globalization is expected to boost transportation demand along with the overall check rails market growth. For instance, in 2022, China had over 42,000 km of track, with another 2,500 km to be built by 2023. China rail had aimed to reach 50,000 km by 2025 and 70,000 km by 2035.
Disruptions in Supply Chain and Travel Restrictions Hindered Market Growth Amid the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on the travel and transportation industry across the globe. Various governments across the globe imposed nationwide lockdown norms to avoid the spread of the virus. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were noticeable in passenger transport. In the second half of 2020, there was a steep decline in long-distance, urban, and regional passengers triggered by the pandemic and severe social distancing regulations. A change in mobility behavior had also impacted the global market as many people worked from home and used their private vehicles to avoid spreading the virus.
Additionally, nationwide lockdowns had severely disrupted the supply chain owing to trade restrictions and a decline in the consumption of goods globally. These factors had a severe impact on the check rails demand globally. For instance, Vossioh AG, one of the leading manufacturers of check rail, reported a revenue decline of 5.10% in 2020 compared to 2019.
In the second half of 2021, various OEMs of check rails across the globe resumed their manufacturing activities with 50% of their total employee strength by adhering to proper social distancing norms to avoid spreading the virus. Various countries across the globe had implemented mass vaccination drives to curb the spread of the virus. These factors gradually increased the demand for rail transportation, fueling the global demand over the forecast period. For instance, in January 2023, China resumed high-speed rail service after three years of COVID-19 norms.
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Increased Adoption of Advanced Technologies to Drive Market Growth
Tracks and check rails are vital parts of a railway. Consistent and cost-effective track inspection ensures convenient operation and the safety of the rail network. The major challenge in railway analysis is the detection of cracks in track structures. Poorly maintained rail tracks lead to significant loss of revenue and severe accidents & fatalities. Integrating smart sensors in rail inspection can help prevent accidents and huge revenue losses. It reduces required monitoring time, improves inspection efficiency, and provides more accurate and frequent rail track information. The growing adoption of these technologies is one of the latest trends in the check rail market. For instance, in September 2021, ZF and DB Systemtechnik partnered to bundle existing capabilities to improve the efficiency of critical infrastructure monitoring.
Adoption of Big Data Analytics for Smart Railways to Drive Market Growth
A complete big data architecture includes IoT and cloud computing devices. Together, they create intelligent trains with self-learning capabilities that anticipate, diagnose, and trigger maintenance actions. This architecture uses multiple data sources to extract relevant information and allows users to perform root cause analysis and take appropriate corrective action with real-time updates. Big data analytics in rail leads to predictive analytics and decision-making based on vast data. This includes asset data collection, analysis, visualization, and decision-making.
With the increasing demand for more passenger rail services and freight trains, data and analysis are expected to be a key advantage for the check rail. Billions of data points captured by sensors in critical rail infrastructure can help identify future parts and validate rail defects, ensuring maintenance can be done before defects occur. This improves system infrastructure reliability by remotely monitoring the position and condition of all vehicles and tracks over many years.
Increasing Investments in Rail Infrastructure to Propel Industry Expansion
Old town traffic no longer meets today's requirements. Natural disasters such as landslides and earthquakes also destroy infrastructure in some places. Governments of various countries and several investors are investing heavily in infrastructure projects to solve these problems and meet current needs and demands. Frequent climate change raises serious concerns, prompting a rethinking of rail systems and investment in research and development.
This also facilitated new technological improvements such as subways, light rail, monorails, and subways. Due to global concerns such as global warming, declining resources, and rising fuel prices, eco-friendly modes of transportation are emerging in various countries. For instance, in February 2023, France's government announced the investment of 100 billion Euros in railway infrastructure by 2040. Additionally, growing investments in the Middle East is another factor driving the market's growth. For instance, in February 2023, Oman Etihad Railway Company, the joint venture developer and operator of the UAE-Oman rail network, announced to enter into an agreement with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Company for a 303-kilometer rail network with a total investment of USD 3 billion.
Less Rail Transport Capacity to Restrain Market Growth
The biggest concern with rail travel is capacity. The capacity of rail transportation can be limited by factors such as the number of tracks available, the number of trains that can operate on a particular section of track, and the length and weight of the trains. In addition, transport capacity may also be limited by the rail system's infrastructure, such as the number of loading ramps and unloading facilities. In recent years, the railway has increased its capacity through track expansion and infrastructure modernization, but they still face significant challenges in meeting the growing demand for rail services.
Normal Held the Largest Market Share Owing to Rapid Urbanization
Based on rail track type, the market is segmented into normal, subway, and high-speed. The normal segment accounted for the largest market size of USD 4.48 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.29% over the forecast period. The segment constitutes tracks for both passenger and freight trains. The increasing demand for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly railways is driving the normal segment in the global market.
According to the International Energy Agency, in 2020, the global rail industry generated 55% of the energy consumed by diesel (85% by power trains, 44% by electricity, and 1% by biofuels). Governments and rail operators globally are implementing measures to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable transport, increasing the need for more efficient and environmentally friendly rail vehicles. For example, in September 2022, Indian Railways equipped 65,000 freight cars with LED lighting. As a result, 650,000,000 KWh units were saved in the main cost of energy saving, and 4920 tons of CO2 emissions were reduced. This contributes to railway energy efficiency and environmental goals.
Moreover, the rising investment and government spending on infrastructure development will propel segmental growth in the coming years.
The high-speed segment accounted for a market size of USD 1.97 billion in 2022 and is expected to attain a growth rate of CAGR of 4.23% over the forecast period. The high-speed segment is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment over the forecast period. Rising disposable income and rapid urbanization worldwide have significantly increased transportation spending. This is expected to increase the demand for high-speed trains that can handle many passengers simultaneously and alleviate congestion on conventional lines.
The high-speed rail market is also used for freight transportation to transport large or heavy items. Their extensive rail network makes long-distance freight transportation cheaper and faster. These factors are increasing the demand for the high-speed rail track segment over the forecast period. For instance, in January 2023, Indian Railways launched their first indigenous Semi High-Speed train called the Vande Bharat Express.
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Standard Gauge Segment Captured Major Share Owing to Advanced Functionalities
The market by gauge type is categorized into the standard gauge, broad gauge, and narrow gauge. The standard gauge parking system market accounted market size of USD 4.70 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.44% over the forecast period.
The standard gauge railway track is one of the historic gauges and has a total length of 720,000 km worldwide. It accounts for 58% of the world’s railway tracks. The standard gauge allows trains to travel over 350 km/h. The standard gauge uses well-developed and advanced technology that offers occupants a safer, faster, and more comfortable travel experience. It also reduces the required land width as compared to broad gauges. In addition, standard gauge trains can reach higher speeds on sharply curved and steeper tracks due to their higher stability, lighter rolling stock, and simpler structural system than broad gauge trains.
Speeds up to 250 km/h are considered half-speed and high speeds are usually above 250 km/h in countries such as the U.S., the U.K., China, and others. Hence, these countries deploy standard gauge railway tracks in their passenger and freight rails for faster travel and transportation. For instance, in March 2023, China launched the CR450 Science and Technology Innovation Project to develop an advanced bullet train CR450 with a driving speed of up to 400 km/h and a test speed of up to 450 km/h.
The broad gauge segment accounted for a market size of USD 1.80 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.82% over the forecast period. This segment occupies the second-largest position in the market. A broad gauge is the largest gauge in size compared to standard and narrow gauges and is used in countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Argentina, and Brazil, where train speeds are slower than in Western countries. High-speed trains are not compatible with these gauges. Therefore, trains run below 200 km/h on these tracks. For instance, the newly launched Vande Bharat Express by Indian Railways attains a maximum speed of 180km/h and runs on a broad gauge.
North America Check Rails Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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Geographically, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world.
The North America market was valued at USD 2.43 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 3.23 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 3.76% is anticipated to dominate the check rails market share over the forecast period. According to the American Railroad Association, the U.S. has a world-class railroad network and is a pillar of the U.S. economy. The domestic rail freight growth can be linked to continued investment in equipment, infrastructure, and technology improvements. Rising consumer demand, increased passenger safety measures, and advances in technology and operations drive rail passenger transport in the region, which in turn is increasing the demand for the global market over the forecast period.
The Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing segment in the region and holds the second-largest position in the market. Increasing government investment in the construction of new railroads and the population's increasing dependence on rail transport are major factors helping to maintain its dominance in this market. For instance, in June 2022, The Sotetsu Group announced to invest 17 billion yen (USD 133 billion) in Japan's Sagami Railway transportation business in fiscal 2022.
Europe is anticipated to show steady growth in the market. This growth is due to heavy investment in new route development by the U.K., French, and German governments. In addition to the U.K., Germany is also expected to grow significantly during the forecast period due to increased spending on new track and signal extensions and maintenance of existing tracks. For instance, in June 2022, Alstom gained a USD 155.21 billion order from German Agency Deutsche Bahn (DB) DB Region for the setup of the European Train Control System (ETCS) and signaling generation Automatic Train Operating (ATO) obtained on board the 215 S-Bahn from Stuttgart trains.
Companies Focus on Partnerships and Building Advanced Parking Systems to Gain a Competitive Edge over Others
The key market players are focusing on cost-reduction strategies, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions to enhance their product offerings. For instance, in July 2021, Vossloh signed an agreement to purchase ETS Spoor, a Dutch company. Through this acquisition, the company aimed to strengthen its position in the Dutch market over the forecast period. With the acquisition of ETS, the company is looking forward to increasing its range of products and offering technology-based products and services to meet the requirement of the Dutch rail infrastructure market.
An Infographic Representation of Check Rails Market
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The market research report provides an in-depth analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as major companies, product/service types, and leading product rail track types. Besides, the report offers insights into the check rails market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several factors that contributed to the market growth in recent years.
CAGR of 3.61% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion)
By Rail Track Type
By Gauge Type
As per a study conducted by Fortune Business Insights, the market size was USD 8.10 billion in 2022.
The market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 3.61% over the forecast period (2023-2030).
The normal segment is expected to lead the market due to the development of smart city projects.
Some of the top players in the market are ArcelorMittal España S.A, Vossloh AG, and Voestalpine Schienen GmbH.
North America dominated the market in terms of market size in 2022.
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