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Rail Travel Worldwide - December 2011

This report focuses on intercity rail travel in the major markets of the world, including Africa (Egypt, South Africa); Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea); Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, Ukraine) and North America (the US), with a particular emphasis on high-speed trains. Other topics treated include rail distribution, rail tours and packages, competition with other forms of transport, rail technology and the environmental advantages of rail travel over other forms of transport.

Some key findings from the report include:

  • Japan, France, Spain, China and South Korea lead the world in terms of high-speed rail travel. Meanwhile, major countries including India, the UK and the US, in particular, are notable laggards in terms of high-speed rail development.
  • Spain will see the fastest growth in its high-speed rail network of any European country over the coming decade. Major expansion of high-speed services is also going forward in the west of France.
  • The six Japanese passenger train operators are highly vertically integrated, often including: other forms of transport services such as bus and ferry operations; railway station development; railcar and infrastructure manufacturing; travel agencies; food and beverage retailing; department stores and even noodle production. It is questionable as to whether such structures are sustainable, given the precarious financial position of several of the groups, especially the ones operating outside the main population centres on the country’s principal island of Honshu.
  • Rail travel is becoming increasingly competitive with air travel and road transport. Rail routes of four hours and less are generally considered to be highly competitive with flights. As trains achieve higher and higher speeds, they can even compete with air travel on routes of up to 1,200km.
  • The airlines are set to lose substantial share to rail in China (for example Beijing–Shanghai), in Western Europe (for example Frankfurt–London) and in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) of the US over the next decade.
  • UK train fares are 20-30% higher than comparable fares in Continental Europe and the rail-travel market suffers from severe fragmentation due to there being some 20 competing operators, which are, for the most part, private-sector franchises.
  • Russian rail travel is losing share to travel by air and coach, due to a reduction in barriers to the importation of aircraft and motor vehicle, as well as to less loose regulation of air and bus fares, as compared to rail-ticket prices.
  • The European Commission has approved standards for the setting up of a single rail-ticket reservation system for Europe. This will allow ticket reservation system and travel details to be standardised, thus facilitating the exchange of information between railway companies and distributors.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Key findings
        • Abbreviations
        • Data Sources

          • Overview

                • Figure 1: Forecasted GDP growth and other economic data by region and major country, 2009-12*
              • Outlook for spending on travel and tourism
                • Figure 2: Travel and tourism expenditure worldwide*, 2011-21
              • On the rebound
                • Figure 3: Real growth in worldwide travel and tourism expenditure*, 2008-15
              • Rankings of rail-travel markets worldwide
                • Length of network
                  • Figure 4: The 50 largest national rail networks in the world, 2010
                • Passenger-km of rail transport per year
                  • Figure 5: Annual passenger-km of rail transport, 2010
                • Passengers carried in rail transport per year
                  • Figure 6: Countries* ranked by number of rail passengers, 2010
                • Passenger-km per head of population
                  • Figure 7: Countries* ranked by annual passenger-km per capita, 2010
                • Modal ratio (share of rail in a country’s total transport portfolio)
                  • Figure 8: Modal ratio of rail by selected country, 2000-06*
              • Major Rail Markets Worldwide

                • Africa

                    • Egypt
                      • Rolling stock
                        • Figure 9: Passenger cars and types, 2011
                      • South Africa
                        • Shosholoza Meyl
                          • Autopax
                            • Property management and development
                              • Gautrain, South Africa’s new rapid-rail network
                              • Asia Pacific

                                  • Australia
                                    • Rail’s small share increasing steadily
                                      • Figure 10: Trend in passenger transport use in Australia, 2000-09
                                    • HSR project under study
                                      • Forecasted demand
                                        • 54 million passengers by 2036
                                          • Competition with air travel
                                            • China
                                              • Rapid growth through 2001
                                                • Figure 11: Chinese railway statistics, 2001-07*
                                              • A second growth spurt since 2007
                                                • Recent traffic trends
                                                  • Figure 12: Passenger traffic on Chinese railroads, 2010
                                                  • Figure 13: Chinese rail-passenger traffic, 2005-11
                                                • Brief history of rail in China
                                                  • The highest railway in the world
                                                    • High-speed rail
                                                      • Figure 14: China’s high-speed rail network (trains travelling at 350 km/h), October 2010
                                                    • China Eastern puts on a brave face
                                                      • Beijing–Wuhan high-speed route
                                                        • Over 20,000km of high-speed lines by 2020
                                                          • Figure 15: Lines operating with trains designed to travel at speeds of >250 km/h at year-end 2010
                                                          • Figure 16: High-speed lines to be completed by between year-end 2010 and year-end 2012
                                                          • Figure 17: High-speed lines to be completed by between year-end 2012 and year-end 2020
                                                        • High-speed disaster a major setback
                                                          • Accident has caused a rethink of safety features
                                                            • Production put on hold
                                                              • Infrastructure must be checked
                                                                • All rail work stopped
                                                                  • Quality of domestic production questioned
                                                                    • Overconfidence of Chinese officials deflated
                                                                      • China’s push southwards
                                                                        • India
                                                                          • Regional structure
                                                                            • Figure 18: Regional structure of IR, 2011
                                                                          • Railways date from 1853
                                                                            • Figure 19: Indian Railways track by type, 2010
                                                                          • Ongoing conversion to broad gauge
                                                                            • Concrete rail ties
                                                                              • Conversion to electric
                                                                                • IR’s rolling stock
                                                                                  • Double-decker cars have been introduced
                                                                                    • Figure 20: Additions/improvements during fiscal year 2008-09 & 2009-10
                                                                                  • Seating capacity for 4.4 million
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Passenger cars by type, 2008-10
                                                                                  • Many train categories but no high-speed as yet
                                                                                    • Figure 22: Categories of Indian trains, 2011
                                                                                  • Rajdhani Express
                                                                                    • Multiple rail classes
                                                                                      • Figure 23: Description of Indian trains by class, 2011
                                                                                    • Japan
                                                                                      • Rail network
                                                                                        • Different gauges and electrical systems
                                                                                          • Development and structure of rail transport in Japan
                                                                                            • JR Group
                                                                                              • Vertically integrated
                                                                                                • Figure 24: JR Group operating subsidiaries, 2011
                                                                                              • The Hokkaido Railway Company 
                                                                                                • Figure 25: JR Hokkaido main trunk lines, 2011
                                                                                              • East Japan Railway Company
                                                                                                • Central Japan Railway Company 
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: JR Central’s route network, 2011
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Leading stations in terms of daily passenger volume, 2010
                                                                                                • JR West
                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Trains offering direct service between Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines, March 2011
                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Travel time between selected cities on the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen, 2011
                                                                                                  • Shikoku Railway Company 
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Improvement in JR Shikoku’s train times, 1987-2006*
                                                                                                  • Kyushu Railway Company 
                                                                                                    • Shinkansen
                                                                                                      • Exporting Shinkansen technology
                                                                                                        • Bidding for UK high-speed trains
                                                                                                          • Targeting developing countries
                                                                                                            • Possible high-speed train deals in the US
                                                                                                              • Maglev magnetic trains
                                                                                                                • Private railway companies
                                                                                                                  • South Korea
                                                                                                                    • High-speed trains
                                                                                                                      • Rail has taken over from air in domestic market
                                                                                                                        • A future US$78-billion investment
                                                                                                                        • Europe

                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Trend in rail passenger-km in European countries, 2004-10
                                                                                                                          • Rail gaining share in core Europe
                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Share of rail as a per cent of total inland passenger-km, 2004-08*
                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: International rail passenger demand in Europe for 2001 and 2007
                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: International passenger trains (train pairs per day) in 2001 and 2009
                                                                                                                          • High-speed replacing IC/EC trains in EU-15 and to Switzerland
                                                                                                                            • Germany, the most connected
                                                                                                                              • Eastern European services underdeveloped
                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: International rail connections within the EU-27 for 2009, number of train pairs/day and cross-border traffic in 2009
                                                                                                                              • Railteam
                                                                                                                                • Planned growth in track
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Planned growth in track by 2025 by European country, 2010
                                                                                                                                • Deregulation of rail services in Europe
                                                                                                                                  • European passenger transport market trends
                                                                                                                                    • A stagnating market but with some pockets of growth
                                                                                                                                      • Contrasting trends in Scandinavia
                                                                                                                                        • Austria
                                                                                                                                          • Rail infrastructure
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Austrian rail track by type, 2007 and 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Österreichische Bundesbahnen
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Key figures for rail and bus travel in Austria, 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Push-pull instead of EMUs
                                                                                                                                            • Expansion abroad
                                                                                                                                              • ÖBB infrastructure investment
                                                                                                                                                • France
                                                                                                                                                  • SNCF Voyages
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Breakdown of turnover by route, 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • SNCF Proximités
                                                                                                                                                      • SNCF infra division
                                                                                                                                                        • SNCF Geodis
                                                                                                                                                          • Gares & Connexions
                                                                                                                                                            • RFF the rail track operator
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: RFF’s breakdown of traffic and turnover by type, 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Germany
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Rail passenger traffic trend on German Railways, 2009-10
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Train stations and train stops by federal state, 2008*
                                                                                                                                                              • DB Group
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Key data for DB Group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Italy
                                                                                                                                                                • Recession hit international travel
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Passenger traffic trends on Italy’s major rail companies, 2006-08*
                                                                                                                                                                • High-speed trains (Alta Velocità)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Frecciarossa train journey times, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Frecciargento train journey times, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Popular intercity routes, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Night train routes in Italy, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Links with abroad
                                                                                                                                                                  • Russia
                                                                                                                                                                    • Long-distance stagnating while commuter services grow
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Passenger traffic by type of service, YTD 2011 compared to 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • RZD has almost 98% share of long-distance passenger transport
                                                                                                                                                                      • Competition with other forms of transport
                                                                                                                                                                        • Government policy seen to be supporting air and bus travel
                                                                                                                                                                          • High-speed rail
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Desiro RUS orders as of November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                            • Luxury trains
                                                                                                                                                                              • Spain
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Spain’s rail track by type, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • RENFE, the main operator
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Passengers on RENFE-operated rail lines, 2004-10
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Passenger-km on RENFE-operated rail lines, 2004-10
                                                                                                                                                                              • AVE, Spain’s HSR service
                                                                                                                                                                                • Other RENFE services
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Narrow-gauge operators
                                                                                                                                                                                    • A 450-km/h railway test circuit
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Switzerland
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Rail traffic in Switzerland 2009- H1/2011
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rail captures 20% share of all tourism trips
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Swiss Federal Railways
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Swiss Federal Railways traffic, 2009-10
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rail very competitive for nearby foreign destinations
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: Comparison of train travel time to nearby foreign destinations with air travel time, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Business zones
                                                                                                                                                                                          • SBB RailCity
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Other railway companies
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Glacier Express
                                                                                                                                                                                                • UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Most rail services offered by franchised operators
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Solid growth over past eight years
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Passenger-km by sector in the UK, Q1/2002-03 to Q1/2010-11
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Network Rail
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Association of Train Operating Companies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: Passenger rail market shares in the UK, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Govia
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Southeastern
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Southern
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • London Midland
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • FirstGroup plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: UK rail passenger revenue growth, fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stagecoach Group, plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • National Express Group, plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Abellio/Serco joint venture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Deutsche Bahn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Virgin Trains
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 60: Improvement in train times since 1997 on Virgin’s west coast services, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • East Coast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Other rail operators
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Franchising timetable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Franchising timetable, 2012-14
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • How satisfied are UK rail passengers?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: National Passenger Survey for rail travel, national total, spring 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ticketing and fares regulation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ukraine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Passenger train classification
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rolling stock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • North America

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • US
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Public funding of transport in the US, 1956-2004*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Amtrak – a state-subsidised entity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Compliance with government terms for grants and entitlements
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Individual state-supported services
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: State-supported* corridor routes, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Amtrak commuter operating services, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Medium- and long-haul train services
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Principal Amtrak intercity services, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Acela
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Washington to Boston in 3.5 hours?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • HSR travel times
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Competing with air travel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Present and forecasted NEC travel times between hub cities, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ridership with next-generation HSR operations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Distribution
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Other rail operators
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Heritage lines 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Commuter lines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rail Ticket Distribution

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rail&Fly in Germany
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Facilitating cross-border reservations in Europe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Focus must move from national to international level
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Standardisation of basic data
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Customers should be able to book via all sales channels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • New entrant advantage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Icelandic volcano eruption as a test case
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Intermediaries adjusting to rail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rail operators as travel agents
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Only 15% of rail tickets purchased online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • thetrainline.com 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Targeting business customers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • A partnership with Rail Europe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • thetrainline.com is provider for GetThere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • MyTrainTicket
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • MyTrainTicket offers Airmiles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Seat 61
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • SilverRail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rail tours and packages
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Railtour suisse 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Great Rail Journeys
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ‘Rail and sail’ holidays
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rail passes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Eurail Global Pass
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: European countries accepting the Eurail Global Pass for rail travel, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Eurail Global Pass rates, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Interrail passes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: European countries accepting the Interrail Global Pass for rail travel, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Interrail Global Pass rates for adults and youths, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Interrail Global Pass rates for seniors, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • US rail passes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 73: USA Rail Passes, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Rail: The Green Advantage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Transport uses 20% of world energy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 74: Transport CO2 emissions by mode of transport, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Air travel emissions more than the treble those of rail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Electric rail lines have low emissions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rail uses less energy and space and is safer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Energy efficiency by mode of transport, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Less noise pollution
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Organising transport without cars
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • What Next?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Shares gains projected for travel within the EU-15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • … but rail to lose share in the EU-12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Forecasted trend in modal share of rail in cross-border travel in Europe to 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Trains will continue to squeeze airlines in many regions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Chinese airlines face stiff competition from HSR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Trains set to gain share in France
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Airports depend on high level of public financing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Major shift from air to rail for domestic travel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Development of TGV lines to west and south-west
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • A Brittany–Loire line too…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • UK plans to transfer traffic from air to rail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • A goal to reduce emission CO2 by 80% in 2050
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • German trains to London
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • London–Frankfurt in less than four hours
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • US$2-billion investment in US high-speed intercity rail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rail Travel Worldwide - December 2011

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