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ITF: Global Rail Trends in Perspective

ITF’s Statistics Brief describes longer-term developments in the different transport modes, as measured by data collected by the International  Transport Forum at the OECD.

Focus on railways


Rail freight tonne-km grew 3% in the OECD countries in 2011, reaching pre-crisis  levels. In the United States, rail freight volumes increased by 3% nearly reaching the  2008 level. The Russian Federation and China recorded a 6% and 7% growth in 2011  respectively. The United States, Russia and China account for nearly 80% of total  estimated global rail freight. Preliminary 2012 data for rail freight, based on  our quarterly statistics, indicate stagnation in Europe and freight volume growth  turning negative in the United States.

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passenger_rail_itfRail passenger-kilometres fell around 2% both in the OECD and the EU area in 2009  after which the volume recovered back to the pre-crisis levels by 2011. However,  there are marked differences in growth rate between individual countries. Outside  Europe, available data for Russian Federation and Japan show close to zero growth in  2011. Rail passenger-kilometres continue to show strong growth in China and India  with 10% and 8% increase respectively in 2011 compared with 2010 (Figure 9). India  and China account for nearly 70% of the estimated global rail passenger transport.  Preliminary data for 2012 show that passenger rail traffic for the EU area has  remained stable in 2012 at near pre-crisis levels.


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