A Bright Future Predicted For Rail
SUSTAINED growth, with an average annual increase of 4%, is predicted for the worldwide railway industry. What is more, there are very few sectors where demand is expected to fall. This means that the worldwide market for railway equipment is forecast to jump from Euros 56.7 billion this year to at least Euros 70 billion in five years time. This is higher than previous estimates because the latest study of the worldwide market, conducted by SCI Verkehr, Germany, for Vossloh, includes virtually all aspects of the rail industry - both main line and urban rail - and all types of materials and equipment apart from passenger information, fare collection, workshop equipment, and the maintenance element of new train orders.
Vossloh has done the railway industry a great service by allowing SCI Verkehr to publish the report. Mr Mark Döing, one of the authors of the report, said there is a growing realisation among railway equipment suppliers that it is in everyone's interest to share market information to try to gain a reliable insight into market trends. This is a refreshing change when the railways themselves are becoming increasingly secretive about what they plan to invest, so much so that IRJ is no longer able to publish its annual world poll of railway capital expenditure. IRJ has published its world poll every year since the magazine was launched in 1960. Despite our best efforts to obtain information, the number of railways willing to take part has fallen each year to the point where the poll ceases to provide a meaningful overview of the world situation.
Although Vossloh is only making a summary of SCI Verkehr's finding public, it is nevertheless a highly valuable source of information. The survey was conducted between April and September from a variety of sources including the World Bank, international railway associations such as the UIC, UITP, and the Association of European Railway Industries (Unife), SCI Verkehr's own databases, and investigation of specific sectors or markets. Findings were compared with the experience of industry experts.
The survey does note how one new project or a concentration of activity in one country can distort the picture for a small sector or market. For example, South Africa has by far the largest electrified rail network in Africa and a fleet of about 2000 electric locomotives. Consequently, South Africa accounts for almost the entire demand for electric locomotives in Africa.
The survey recognises some specific developments, such as the introduction of ERTMS/ETCS in Europe which will supplement an already-buoyant market for signalling and telecommunications equipment. Germany alone put into operation about EUR 500 million worth of electronic interlockings last year. As our extensive coverage in this issue shows, ERTMS/ETCS has reached the point where it is starting to be implemented.
Some of our news stories this month confirm that railway investment is on the up. The European Union is trying to fast-track some of the Trans-European Network (TENs) projects, which would give a huge boost to railways in Eastern Europe. Brazil's private freight railways are reporting excellent growth which will enable them to invest record amounts. Canadian National Railway, which has gone from strength to strength, is increasing its financial resources.
The English version of the report does include some anomalies. For example, the term standard gauge is used throughout when they mean mainline railways of all gauges. LRV is used to denote investment in both metros and light rail systems. The light rail and metro systems and projects in North Africa (Tunis and Cairo), Israel, and Tehran have been overlooked. These omissions should not affect the overall conclusions of the survey.
Quelle: International Railway Journal
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