Rail Transport

Rail traffic can be broken down into passenger rail travel and cargo rail transport. Although many approaches to privatize the industry have been initiated, many state-controlled incumbents remain present in the industry. Some of the largest railway companies are based in the United States. One of the boldest projects, however, is being undertaken by China. The country intends to invest in almost 70 countries through its Belt and Road Initiative. In 2021, the volume of rail freight traffic in China exceeded 3.3 trillion ton-kilometers for the first time, while the number of train passengers reached over 2.6 billion people. Along with China, Japan is ranked as the largest market for passenger rail traffic.

Largest railway company worldwide
Union Pacific
Country with the largest rail network
United States
Rail passenger traffic in Europe
378bn passenger km

State of the industry

  • Deutsche Bahn in Germany
  • High-speed rail worldwide
  • Shinkansen high-speed railway in Japan
  • Rail passenger transport in Europe
  • Rail freight industry worldwide
  • Road and rail - India's ride to the future
  • High-speed rail in China
  • Rail freight industry in Europe
  • Rail freight industry in North America

Industry Definition

The rail transport category provides information on passenger and cargo railroads. Within this sector, Statista provides information about the business activities of freight forwarders as well as rail and metro operators. Data on a global and regional scale is available. Moreover, information on passenger rail traffic and safety is available as well. All of the information is complemented by company rankings.


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