You enjoy different modes of transportation like – Air Transportation, Road Transportation, Sea Transportation, and Railways. The largest and the most sorted after transportation is the “Railways”. Across the globe, the fast and widespread networking of rail lines in the past few decades has helped everyone from daily commuter, tourists, traders, businessmen and occasional traveler. Railways support and facilitate a lot of industries as well like the transportation industry, tourism, catering and much more. The infrastructure of the railways today decides the economy of the country. There are countries that have a separate “Budget” presented for the railways. Thousands of people earn their bread and butter from this mode of transportation, both directly and indirectly. World’s top ten largest Railway networks are:
1) The United States
With railway length of over 2, 50,000 kms the Railways in the United States is the largest network in the world. The control is in the hands of private organizations and amongst them is – “Union Pacific Railroad” and “BNSF Railway” which run the world’s largest freight railroad network. “Amtrak” is the largest passenger rail network and is the national passenger network as well. The passenger network is around 35,000 kms with approximately 30 train routes and 500 stations. Of the total tracks around 1600 kms are electrified.
The nationalized rail network- RZD (Russia Railways) has railway network of 85500 kms with around 50,000 kms of electrified tracks. Approximately 1.08 billion passengers traveled in 2013 and the network is excellently connected with many European and Asian rail systems like – Poland, China, Mongolia, France and North Korea. One of the busiest railway lines is also in Russia i.e. the Trans-Siberian Railway. Russia has the 2nd largest railway network in the World.
The Chinese Government run China Railway network has a track length of around 69000 kms, with around 11300 kms of tracks electrified. People Extensively traveled by railway network in China and in 2013 around 2.08 billion passengers traveled in China Railways making it the second largest in terms of carrying passengers, after India. The country also has an extensive network of high-speed railway tracks and runs around 10,000 km of tracks. It runs the world’s longest high-speed railway line – the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed line which is 2298 kms long. China has the world’s 3rd largest railway network.
With approximately 1.4 million employee, making it the 8th largest employer in the world, Indian railways is run by the Indian government. The length of the tracks is approximately 65,000 kms of which around 28000 kms are electrified. The robust network carried around 8 billion passengers and approximately 1 billion tonnes of freight in 2013. The infrastructure is so strong that it runs around 19000 trains every day with 12000 passenger trains and 7000 freight trains. India has the 4th largest railway network in the world.
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The privately run railways in the country has players like – Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, which are the major networks in terms of carrying freight, Via rail, Algoma Central Railway, and Ontario Northland Railway are the passenger carriers. An intercity passenger service with a track length of 12000 km is run by Via Rail and the rural areas are served by Algoma Central Railway. The country also runs a separate “Luxury Rail Network” touring between the scenic beauties of mountainous areas of the nation. The total track in the country runs around 48000 kms. Canada has the 5th largest railway network in the world.
The country has both state-run and private railway network and runs around 41,000 kms of railway track, of which approximately 19000 kms of tracks are electrified. The government run – Deutshe Bahn operates high-speed railway services by the name of – Intercity Express. There are more than 150 private railway companies in Germany, S-Bahn and Hamburg-Cologne Express are few of the major ones. Germany has the World’s 6th largest railway network.
Private companies dominate the country’s railway network, though the government also has its operations and majorly the maintenance of the infrastructure is done by it. With a track length if approximately 40,000 kms around 3000 kms are electrified. Few of the major freight carriers in the country are – Aurizon Genesee and Wyoming Australia, and Pacific National. Australia has the 7th largest railway network in the world.
The 36,000 kms of tracks in the country is state-run of which, only 136 kms is electrified. With around 47,000 kms of track, initially, operated by British and French-owned companies had to be shortened due to losses. Though the Argentinean railways were again privatized between 1992 and 1995 but were not successful. Argentina has the World’s 8th largest railway network.
9) South Africa
The country runs around 31,000 kms of railway track of which 25000 kms are electrified. The state-run railways have a density of 1742 persons per track. The famous “Blue Line / Train” which runs a distance of around 1600 kms between Cape Town to Johannesburg is the world’s best luxury train line and is a tourist attraction. South Africa has the World’s 9th largest railway network.
The state-run railways consists of tracks with a distance of 29000 kms of which around 15000 kms are electrified. The “Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais” or the SNCF is the national carrier and adopted the high-speed rail technology quite early. The “Train a Grande Vitesse” or the TGV is the high-speed train service which runs on the high-speed track with a distance of 1550 kms. France has the 10th largest railway network in the world.
The popularity of railway network has been increasing over the years and with countries adapting to the high-speed railways will further popularize this mode of transportation.