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Rail Composites Market

Rail Composites Market: Information by Resin Type (Epoxy, Polyester, Phenolic), Fiber Type (Glass Fiber, Carbon Fiber), Application (Exterior, Interior), and Region—Forecast Till 2031

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Market Overview

The global rail composites market size was valued at USD 1,670.10 million in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 2,785.87 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.85% during the forecast period (2023-2031).

The rail sector requires lightweight constructions with excellent fatigue performance, minimal overall maintenance, fire resistance, and outstanding acoustic performance, making composites the ideal material for this sector, with weight reductions of up to 50% for structural applications and 75% for non-structural applications, composite materials' improved strength-to-weight ratio results in a system that is both more cost- and fuel-effective. As a result, there is less inertia, axle tension, and track deterioration, which all need less power. It takes less energy for acceleration and deceleration in commuter trains to travel small distances with frequent stops. Generally, rail composites are used to lighten trains, provide increased heat and external impact resistance, and decrease power usage by enhancing overall performance.


  • The polyester segment is the highest contributor to the market by resin type.
  • The glass fiber segment is the highest contributor to the market by fiber type.
  • The exterior segment is the highest contributor to the market by application.
  • Asia-Pacific is the most significant revenue contributor by region.

Market Snapshot

market snapshot
Base Year
: 2022
Study Period
: 2021-2031
: 5.85 %
Fastest Growing Market
: Europe
Largest Market
: Asia Pacific
Market Size
: USD 2,785.87 million by 2031
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Market Dynamics

Global Rail Composites Market Drivers

Expanding Scope of Railway Construction Work in Asia–Pacific Region

The growth of the railway industry in Asia is likely fueled by increasing urbanization, the worsening of traffic congestion, and the extension of railway networks in essential countries. This region's governments are actively participating in the industry to expand existing rail networks and improve this mode of transportation, which is already the safest and least expensive option available, to make it more comfortable and less harmful to the environment. The expansion of the railway sector can be attributed mainly to the fact that the Asia-Pacific area is home to several active railway construction projects.

Global Rail Composites Market Restraint

Lack of Railway Infrastructure in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand

The movement of products between nations is made more accessible by a well-developed rail network. However, one of the most significant issues in many Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, is the inadequate train infrastructure and upkeep of specific rail networks. This circumstance often delays many deals in Southeast Asia, impeding the region's anticipated rapid expansion. The need for expanding the rail network is consequently becoming increasingly apparent. Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are the three major countries where the rail network is deficient. The rail network in Vietnam, which now only has seven single-track lines, needs to be improved. The rail network connecting Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos is nonexistent.

Southeast Asian nation Vietnam has a developed and vast rail network. The railway network has had ups and downs throughout its century and is still imprisoned, unable to grow, and in disarray. Infrastructure, rolling stock, signaling, and telecom systems could be better. As only around 30% of the total demand can be satisfied by the government's annual maintenance budget, they need to be maintained. As a result, it makes sense to decide against using trains and other forms of transportation.

Global Rail Composites Market Opportunities

Rapidly Increasing Demand for High-Speed Rail

High-speed rail (HSR) has increased the number of transportation choices available globally. Compared to flying, high-speed rail can transport passengers more quickly or in the same amount of time between two downtowns. The effectiveness of airports and roads may be increased by including HSR as a seamless transportation system component. Citizens in rural and small urban areas may have more options if more transfer stations and feeder services are connected to future HSR tracks. 8% of all passenger travel worldwide and about 9% of all freight activity, but only 3% of all transportation energy use, according to the IEA. China has led the way in expanding high-speed rail and metropolitan areas during the past ten years. India, the second-longest rail network in the world, is extensively electrifying its rail system. Several other sites have recently completed pre-commercial hydrogen train trials simultaneously.

Just ten years ago, China needed more high-speed rails. However, the nation presently contains two of every three high-speed lines. More than 600 billion passengers are transported annually per kilometer by high-speed train. China said in 2020 that it would increase the length of its high-speed rail network from 36,000 to 72,000 kilometers over the ensuing 15 years. Once they are finished, all cities with more than 200 000 population may be connected to train lines. China has declared the completion of a hybrid hydrogen-fuel cell train. The nation has announced the opening of Tibet's first fully electrified bullet train.

Segmental Analysis

The global rail composites market is segmented by resin, fiber, and application.

Based on resin type, the global rail composites market is bifurcated into epoxy, polyester, phenolic, and others.

The polyester segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.95% during the forecast period. The majority of resin-based composites utilized in the production of railroad parts worldwide are made of polyester. Polyesters work well with various fabrication techniques, including open-mold spray-up, compression molding, resin transfer molding (RTM), and casting. They are frequently combined with glass-fiber reinforcements. Large panels made of polyester-based composites, easily molded, are utilized for door and seat components, window frames, and wall cladding. Using composites made of polyester results in lightweight constructions and lower product maintenance costs. However, there is a problem with the fire safety capabilities of composites made of polyester. For instance, in its unsaturated form, polyester burns quickly and produces a lot of smoke and harmful gases.

In the construction of train vehicles, epoxy composite materials are most frequently employed. They are renowned for being light and having great strength. All rail structures, including load-bearing interior components, door mountings, shock absorbers, and bogies, use epoxy resin composite pre-pegs. When improved mechanical qualities are required for fire-retardant systems, epoxy-based resin composites are used. They have excellent flame spread characteristics and are utilized in parts that need a more robust structural performance than phenolics, like the flooring in railroad bogies. When a particular ideal balance of FST and mechanical qualities is required, epoxy pre-pegs are occasionally co-cured with phenolic pre-pegs. These hybrid composites are frequently utilized to create sandwich panels for flooring.

Among all resin kinds, phenolic systems are rail vehicles' third most utilized composite systems. Phenolic resins, such as phenol and formaldehyde, are created by combining aromatic alcohol and an aldehyde. Phenolic resins are employed when inexpensive, flame-resistant, and low-smoke products are required, such as in flame-resistant interior panels. Railroad components used in tunnels and other enclosed spaces are commonly made with phenolic composites. These composite materials, for instance, are utilized in the rail carriages employed by underground metros, such as the London Underground. This results from the strict FST specifications for underground rail vehicle designs.

Based on fiber type, the global rail composites market is bifurcated into glass, carbon, and others.

The glass fiber segment owns the highest market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.75% during the forecast period. The most common form of composite fiber utilized in rail applications is glass fiber. Most of the composite materials used for the semi-structural interior parts of rail coaches are based on glass fiber. These include pantry units, seating systems, sidewalls, luggage bins, bulkheads and stand-backs, hatches and doors, linking archways, partitions, and panels for floors, ceilings, and decking. Glass-fiber composites are simple to produce, having a low density and a high level of strength. Compared to aramid and carbon fibers, glass-fiber composites are less expensive and have better mechanical qualities, making them a preferred choice for railway applications. For most internal rail applications, glass fibers are often employed as chopped strand mats (CSMs) and continuous filament mats (CFMs).

The second most popular fiber type in rail applications is carbon fiber composites. Carbon fiber composites may be the biggest market for composite materials in rail applications. Due to their incredible strength and lightweight, carbon fiber composites have increased in popularity in rail applications. 2018 saw the creation of the first subway train made of carbon fiber composite materials worldwide by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles. It was anticipated that this subway carriage, 35% lighter than its metal equivalent, would use less energy and transport more passengers. Improved shape and dimensional variation are other benefits of completely carbon fiber coaches.

Based on application, the global rail composites market is bifurcated into exterior and interior.

The exterior segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.65% during the forecast period. Although composite materials were initially only used for the interior of railroad bogies, manufacturers have been pushed to adopt composite materials for external components in recent years due to significant advancements in their structural characteristics and low weight. Kinematic hatches, roof panels, exterior side panels, side skirts, and doors are examples of exterior structural elements where composites may be employed. Initial applications for polyester glass fiber composites included external noses. However, the proportion of carbon fiber in exterior components has increased recently. 

Globally, the interior passenger coach components use the most composite material. These parts include ceiling panels, sidewalls, window surrounds and luggage stows, seating units, full bathroom, kitchen, and driver compartment modules. Complex features can be molded using composite materials, which helps lower the number of parts and maintenance requirements. Additionally, the surface texture might discourage graffiti. Composites made from phenolic resin are frequently employed in interior parts that are not structural.

Regional Analysis

The global rail composites market is divided into four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA. 

Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market

Asia-Pacific is the most significant revenue contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.10% during the forecast period. China now boasts the largest railway market because of astounding advancements in the industry. China's railway network expanded from 80,000 kilometers of track in 2009 to 139,000 kilometers in 2019. China has built over 35,000 kilometers of the world's network's renowned high-speed portion or more than two-thirds of it. The world's most extended electrified network, with more than 100,000 kilometers of track, is also located in China. Following the merging of the two organizations, CNR and CSR, in 2015, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., which can also produce over 500 high-speed train sets, 12,000 metro cars, and 50,000 freight cars annually, became the world's top rolling stock manufacturer.

Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.70% during the forecast period. The German economy is the fifth-largest in the world and the biggest in Europe. The German economy expanded by roughly 0.6% in 2019, the slowest growth rate in the previous six years. Numerous variables, including trade conflicts that restrict exports, tariff disputes started by the US government, and the COVID-19 virus outbreak, impact the country's economic growth. Germany is one of the nations most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic in Europe. The COVID-19 outbreak, by the IMF, caused a 6% decline in the country's GDP in 2020.

In the US, there are three types of rail systems: commuter, light, and heavy rail (such as subway systems). Train tracks totaling 225,308.16 km make up the US rail network. Most of the nation's rail infrastructure is owned by private firms, with Amtrak controlling most of the leading passenger routes. The difficulties facing rail infrastructure are formidable, particularly when it comes to passenger railroads. Infrastructure for locomotives is rapidly aging across the country, and rehabilitation projects are still unfunded. Hawaii has no rail infrastructure, which stands in stark contrast to Texas, which has more than 10,000 miles of freight trains running through it.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a fast transport system called the Riyadh Metro is being built. It is the most significant endeavor in public transportation. The RPTP involves building a bus system, a metro network, and other transportation options in Riyadh. While Line 1's tunneling work began in July 2015, the construction of the Riyadh metro project got underway in April 2014. The metro began testing in August 2018 and is expected to open soon. There are 176.4 kilometers in the entire trip. One business in Brazil asked for permission to build two railway projects, one of which would run for 420 km between the municipalities of Ipatinga in Minas Gerais and So Mateus in the state of Espirito Santo.

Rail Composites Market Regional Analysis
Regional Growth Insights Download Free Sample

Top Key Players of Rail Composites Market

  1. Avient Corporation
  2. BASF SE Celanese Corporation
  3. Exel Composites
  4. Gurit
  5. Hexcel Corporation
  6. Kineco Limited
  7. Lanxess
  8. Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials
  9. Reliance Industries Limited
  10. Solvay
  11. Teijin Limited
  12. Toray Industries.

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
CAGR 5.85%
Forecast Period 2023-2031
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
Segments Covered
  1. By Resin Type
    1. Epoxy
    2. Polyester
    3. Phenolic
    4. Vinyl Ester
    5. Others
  2. By Fiber Type
    1. Glass Fiber
    2. Carbon Fiber
    3. Other Fiber Types
  3. By Application
    1. Exterior
    2. Interior
Geographies Covered
  • North America
  • Europe
  • APAC
  • Middle East and Africa

Recent Developments

  • March 2023- TDK expanded the Tronics AXO®300 Series with two types of high-performance digital MEMS accelerometer sensors.
  • May 2022- TALGO turned to new materials for manufacturing the wheelset frames for its Avril high-speed trains, replacing steel with carbon fiber reinforced polymer to cut component mass by 50% with no loss of structural integrity.

Rail Composites Market Segmentation

By Resin Type

  • Epoxy
  • Polyester
  • Phenolic
  • Vinyl Ester
  • Others

By Fiber Type

  • Glass Fiber
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Other Fiber Types

By Application

  • Exterior
  • Interior

By Regions

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the market size of rail composites in 2031?
The global rail composites market size was valued at USD 2,785.87 billion in 2031.
Asia Pacific has the highest growth rate in the market
Key verticals adopting rail composites market include: -Avient Corporation, BASF SE Celanese Corporation, Exel Composites, Gurit, Hexcel Corporation, Kineco Limited, Lanxess, Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, Reliance Industries Limited, Solvay.
The global rail composites market growing at a CAGR of 5.85% from (2023–2031).
Rapidly increasing demand for high-speed rail is one of the key trends in the market.
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