The global railway market is not really suffering from the economic crisis. The growth in this sector can be mainly ascribed to the strong emergence of metro networks worldwide. This can be concluded from a study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
In this study, consultants found that the global market for railway infrastructure and equipment has been growing at 3.2% a year through the global downturn. Up to 2017 the market is expected to grow at around 2.7% per year. Major driver is spending on metro rail systems, which will grow between 6% - 8% a year.
The world's first underground metro connection was opened in 1863, from Paddington to Farringdon (United States). Another 29 years passed before Chicago became the second city to boast a metro. The use of metro's accelerated from the 1960s, in reaction to the growth of mega-metropolises around the world. Now, almost 190 cities have metros, with more to come as a result of increased construction in developing countries. In 2012 several cities opened a metro network, including the Chinese cities of Suzhou, Kunming and Hangzhou, Lima in Peru and Algiers in Algeria.
An overview of the largest metro systems in the world: