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Locomotive Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Technology Type (IGBT Module, GTO Thyristor, and SiC Module), By Propulsion Type (Diesel and Electric), and Regional Forecasts, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103285



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The global locomotive market size was USD 12.34 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with the market witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a huge decline of -32.04% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 14.16 billion in 2021 to USD 25.48 billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 8.8% during the 2021-2028 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

A locomotive engine is a rail transport vehicle powered by diesel or electricity to push or haul the train along its track. Some trains have their self-propelled load-carrying vehicles. These engines perform push-pull operations in which the engines are present at the front, rear, or both ends of the trains. Electric engines are widely preferred over diesel engines as they offer high performance, reduce pollution levels, and provide lesser energy and maintenance costs. The increasing urbanization, increasing population, and rising traffic congestion on roads are the major contributors to the rising popularity of these products among the general public. Expansion of rail networks in various developed and developing nations and the rising concern of environmental sustainability among people will aid the growth of the market.

Increase in Digitalization Post Pandemic to Accelerate Market Growth

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on connectivity, many initiatives to facilitate remote services, electronic linkages between customs and railways have been implemented or in the process of implementation in different countries, especially in transit ones. Some of the trends observed with regards to rail transport amidst the pandemic are as follows: 1) Most national railway strategies have yet to considers the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the medium and long term 2) Pandemic gave further momentum to the digitalization of railway transport even in countries with a relatively low level of digital services 3) New solutions for customers and services, primarily digital, were proposed in many countries.

The pandemic provides an opportunity for railways worldwide to further increase their comparative advantages by deepening digitalization in railways. The railway freight has been facing significant competition from the road, which will further intensify with the emergence of transformative transport technologies such as platooning, autonomous vehicles, high capacity trucks, and on-demand mobility services. Post-COVID-19 impact, digitalization offers enormous prospects for railways, owing to the numerous benefits, including improved capacity, traffic management, reliability, energy efficiency, services, and lower operating costs. Hence, the pandemic will accelerate the digitalization of various aspects of the railways.


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Increasing Use of Autonomous Engines to Fast-Track Market Growth

Autonomous locomotives are automated transit systems that are operated automatically without any human involvement and are monitored from the control station. These products travel short and long distances for transporting people and freight. A centralized control system that controls over all the trains and a predefined railway network and infrastructures are the chief components that assist the intelligent movement of the autonomous engines within the specified cities and metros. The autonomous transit system for long distances involves different technology for functioning as various sensors and self-driving algorithms are installed within these products.

The autonomous products are employed with Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology which enables the communication between the trains and the device on the track for managing the rail traffic. This technique enables accurate identification of train locations, bogey alignments, and rail stability, thereby ensuring greater efficiency and safety of both the device and the passengers.

The autonomous products operate with higher frequencies to transport a large number of passengers and freight faster than road transport. The population across the globe is increasing rapidly and is expected to double in the coming years. Owing to the advances in infrastructures, adoption of advanced technology, and expansion in the industrial sector, a large part of the world population is expected to urbanize. In such a rapidly changing world, the transport system is also estimated to be incredibly effective, leaving no room for human errors. Therefore, the autonomous technology is expected to set the trend in the global market.

For instance, the Russian Railway Authorities set up the first trial to test the functioning of the autonomous train on the Shcherbinka railway test ring in the vicinity of Moscow. The train is equipped with Automated Train Operation (ATO), which enables emergency stopping in case of any obstacles on the track.


Rising Demand for Fuel Efficient Products Coupled with Increasing Environmental Concerns to Aid Market Growth

Globally, the volume of vehicles on the road has increased over the past decade. The high demographic rate, developing road infrastructures, and a surge in disposable income of people are the major reasons for the growth of automobiles. The high vehicle rate has led to traffic congestion, thus giving rise to several problems such as physical and mental health problems, accidents, and wastage of valuable time. Also, the rising traffic leads to high emissions of toxic gases leading to environmental pollution and global warming. These engines mainly run on diesel and electricity. Many government and private authorities are working towards developing fuel-efficient products to curb the rising environmental problems. Also, they are investing a large percentage in adopting sustainable sources of energy to power the engine.

The dual-mode, as well as the hydrogen-powered products, are witnessing huge demand in the railway industry. The dual-mode products can run on diesel through places that are not economical to be electrified and also make use of overhead electric cables using electric power through places with electrified rails. This feature enables to reduce the dependency on fuels, thus leading to lower fuel emission. The hydrogen-powered locomotive does not require cables and runs on hydrogen fuel placed on the roof and generates electric energy by mixing hydrogen and oxygen. This system emits only steam and water as by-products. The development in the rail sector and the shift towards public transport are factors expected to boost the growth of the market.

Rapid Growth in Population and Rising Traffic Congestion on Road to Boost Market Growth

Over the past few years, an exponential increase in population rate has propelled the demand for automobiles across the globe, thus leading to traffic congestion on roads. The high rate of traffic congestion has led to various health problems such as back injuries, whiplash injuries, and mental stress problems. The rail networks in multiple regions are expanding faster, and several rail projects are coming up in cities to enable easy commuting. Additionally, the rising vehicle emissions, increasing safety concerns, and greater demand for faster commutes have increased individuals' preference for rail transport. Moreover, the legal authorities are also working towards expanding the rail networks and investing in developing high-speed trains to meet the growing demand for public transport. These factors will drive the locomotive market growth.


Capital Intensive Rolling Stock and High Cost of Maintenance to Hamper Market Growth

The increasing inclination of individuals towards railway transport is leading to high demand for these products in recent times. The rising traffic congestion and problems related to it are the primary reasons for the shift in the mode of transport. Additionally, the development in rail infrastructure, inexpensive fares, environment friendly, and faster mode of transport are factors for the high penetration of locomotives in the global market. Therefore, this has led to increased investment in rolling stock by the legal authorities.

Recent advances in rail infrastructure, the introduction of high-speed trains for passengers and freight transport, adoption of advanced technology, expansion of rail networks, and the various upcoming rail projects across cities require a large amount of investment. All these investments may not be fulfilled owing to the limited budget allocated by the government. Moreover, the regular maintenance and replacements of parts and components may lead to high spending.


By Technology Type Analysis

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IGBT Module Segment to Hold Largest Market Share

Based on the technology type, the market is segmented into the IGBT module, GTO thyristor and SiC module.

Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) are power electronics used in the traction system of electric and diesel-electric trains. They generally replace the gate turn-off Thyristor GTO owing to their lighter weight than GTO modules, thus offering constructive advantages. IGBT consists of three terminals: the emitter, collector, and gate and is commonly used for traveling long distances to transport passengers and freight. As the power controlling capability of IGBT modules was expanded, they became progressively popular for use in higher-powered locomotives. As compared to conventional transistors, IGBT modules function at very high currents.

The switching frequency of IGBT modules is much higher compared to the GTO Thyristor module. This reduces the current required as well as the heat generated, thereby providing smaller and lighter units. The high switching frequencies enable a smooth acceleration process and also reduces the traction noise.

The growing adoption of dual-mode products that run on diesel and electricity is expected to aid the growth of IGBT modules during the forecast period. SiC module is also expected to show exponential growth in the global market in the coming years. The silicon carbide (SiC) module reduces the weight and size of the traction motor and the inverter system to a great extent compared to the conventional inverters. The utilization of low power devices made of silicon carbide (SiC) enables the development of lighter, smaller, and simpler designed inverters and traction motors. The growing trend of lightweight rolling stock permeates the global market. The rising demand for greater performance, higher efficiency, and the adoption of advanced technologies in power devices are expected to create a high demand for SiC modules in the market.  

By Propulsion Type Analysis

Diesel Segment Holds Largest Locomotive Market Share in Global Market

Based on the propulsion type, the market is segmented into diesel and electric.

The diesel propelled segment holds the largest share in the market. A diesel locomotive consists of a diesel engine that works as a traction supplier. Various types of diesel products are developed, which generally differ in terms of their ability to transfer mechanical energy to the driving wheels. Diesel fuel is stored in the fuel tank which is supplied by an electric fuel pump to power the engine. Diesel fuel has a high preference owing to the economic cost, greater availability, and lesser volatility. The diesel engine is the main component of the diesel-electric locomotive connected to the main generator that converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy in the engine. The energy is then delivered to the traction system through circuits present in several switch-gear modules.

The rising adoption of diesel-electric products has reduced the dependence of engines on diesel fuel. The dual-mode product is gaining high demand across the globe owing to its various advantages. The electric segment is projected to show significant growth in this market. High efficiency, quiet operation compared to diesel variants, and additional benefits such as regenerative braking, which can further improve the operation, are responsible for the increased popularity of electrical products. Furthermore, electrical products require less reciprocating parts, which reduces track maintenance, and they are increasingly being used on advanced rail networks for freight transportation. Hence, these factors are likely to fuel the adoption of electrical products.


Asia Pacific Locomotive Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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Asia Pacific holds the largest share in the global market and is expected to hold its dominating position during the forecast period owing to the high population rate, rising urbanization, and expansion in the rail network. Some of the developing and developed economies, including India, China, and Japan, prefer railways as the primary mode of transport to a large extent. The high volume of automobiles in these countries and the high rate of traffic congestion on the road have created a massive shift from road transport towards rail transport.

Also, the increasing health problems such as back injuries, whiplash injuries, and mental stress are compelling individuals to opt for public transport rather than traveling by private vehicles. The expansion of rail networks has linked most cities to one another and has enabled commuters to have a fast, easy, comfortable, and safe journey. Also, the governments in this region are investing heavily in infrastructure development, high-speed trains, economical fares, enhanced comfort, and safety.

Europe is projected to exhibit steady growth in the market over the forecast period due to the presence of a large number of rail material manufacturers and a comprehensive rail network. North America is likely to show good growth in the market aided by a robust local manufacturing base, particularly for diesel engines. Furthermore, regulations such as the Buy American Act, which compels foreign rolling stock manufacturers to create local production sites, are likely to fuel the demand for the product in this region.


CRRC Corporation Limited Is a Leading Company

CRRC Corporation Limited is the world's largest supplier of rail transit components with a wide range of product lines and leading technologies. The company is mainly into manufacturing, designs, sales, repair, lease, and various technical services for rolling stock, urban rail transit vehicles, and all types of electronic and electrical equipment and management services. The company is putting a foot forward in developing highly efficient solutions for sustainable development for railway transportation. The merger between CNR and CSR to form CRRC has increased its global footprint and international competitiveness among the leading players in the market.

For example, Hitachi has increased its operations in Europe by involving new strategies, including shifting its global rail headquarters to the U.K. Hence, Hitachi has significantly increased its operations in two key markets in Europe, Italy and the U.K. Furthermore, leading players such as Alstom have adopted aggressive expansion strategies to maintain their position in the global market. For instance, Alstom attempted to merge with Siemens Mobility, a leading rail manufacturer, which the European Union ultimately blocked. Hence, increasing consolidation efforts are likely to fuel intense competition and increased R&D in the market.


  • Bombardier Transportation (Canada)

  • Alstom (France)

  • Hitachi Ltd (U.K.)

  • AEG Power Solutions (Netherlands)

  • Siemens Mobility (Germany)

  • Wabtec Corporation (U.S.)

  • Toshiba International Corporation (U.S.)

  • CZ LOKO, A.S. (Czech Republic)

  • CRRC Corporation Limited (China)

  • Hyundai Corporation (South Korea)


  • June 2021 – Wabtec Corporation and General Motors (GM) announced a collaboration to develop and commercialize GM's Ultium battery technology and HYDROTEC hydrogen fuel cell systems for Wabtec locomotives.

  • May 2021 – Wabtec Corporation announced a rail industry first as its FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive delivered more than an 11-percent average reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for an entire train.


An Infographic Representation of Locomotive Market

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The market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors above, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD billion) & Volume (thousand units)


By Technology Type

  • IGBT Module

  • GTO Thyristor

  • SiC Module

By Propulsion Type

  • Diesel

  • Electric

By Geography

  • North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (U.K., Germany, France, Russia and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (Japan, China, India, South Korea and Rest of Asia- Pacific)

  • Rest of the World

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global locomotive market size was USD 12.34 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 25.48 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the locomotive market value stood at USD 12.34 billion.

The locomotive market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% and will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The IGBT Module segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The rise in the demand for fuel-efficient transportation and increasing environmental concerns will drive market growth.

CRRC Corporation Limited is the leading player in the global market.

Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the market.

The rapid growth of the population and rising traffic congestion on roads are expected to drive the growth of the locomotive market.

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