Increasing urbanisation and rapid industrialisation around the world has resulted in an increase in the demand for faster, efficient, more reliable and economic modes of transportation. Consequently, rapid transit systems are being developed, leading to an increase in the demand for rolling stock. According to industry reports, global demand for rolling stock is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2 per cent from 2019 to 2025 with demand expected to touch $75.12 billion by 2025.

Rolling stock is a key element of the urban transport system. The choice of rolling stock has implications for the design of station. In addition, the selection of a rolling stock contractor has a major influence on long-term system operation and maintenance and design and construction of the infrastructure component.

Innovations in big data and analytics have assisted original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to streamline their operations and provide digital solutions, real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance solutions to rolling stock users. In addition, technological advancements such as magnetic levitation trains, application of internet of things in communications, signalling, and engineering is making transit more accessible to commuters, thus contributing towards its growing demand.

There is a growing preference for green rolling stock which has resulted in research and development activities to increase the use of sustainable energy. The increasing demand for alternative fuels to provide energy to rolling stock is augmenting the growth of the rolling stock market. For instance, biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel will enhance the fuel efficiency of rolling stock. Thus, the design of energy efficient rolling stock is of paramount importance for sustainability.

Further, the growing demand for transit vehicles has prompted governments to implement trams and adopt electric locomotives on a large-scale. Such initiatives are expected to further help various regions to achieve economies of scale with their existing railway infrastructure.

Southeast Asia Infrastructure provides an update on rolling stock across the region…

LTA to procure rolling stock for Sengkang-Punggol LRT, Singapore

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore has announced plans to procure 17 two-car trains for the Sengkang-Punggol light rail transit (LRT) between 2024 and 2027. Currently, a fleet of 16 two-car trains and 25 one-car trains has been deployed on the line. The Sengkang-Punggol LRT, which had started passenger services in 2005, spans 10.7 km and covers 15 stations.

The LTA also plans to expand the Sengkang-Punggol LRT depot from 3.5 hectares to 11.1 hectares. The expanded depot will include a new maintenance workshop and a train stabling area, two new reception tracks to reduce the train launching time, and three new traction power stations. The depot expansion works are scheduled to complete in 2027.

Construction contract awarded for Jurong East Integrated Transport Hub, Singapore

In addition, the LTA has awarded a contract to the Singapore branch of China Communications Construction Company Limited to design and construct the Jurong East Integrated Transport Hub (JE ITH). The value of the contract is SGD 477.4 million. The construction of project is expected be completed by 2027. .

The scope of work includes construction of a 27-storey tower block connected by a sky bridge to an eight-storey podium block, an office tower, public facilities, retail spaces, and a bus interchange station. The hub aims to provide direct connectivity and to enable more convenient transfers between the North-South and East-West lines, and the future Jurong Region Line at the Jurong East station.

First batch of rolling stock for LRT-1 Cavite Extension delivered, Philippines

Spain-based Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) has delivered the first eight of the 120 fourth-generation light rail vehicles (LRVs) for LRT Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension in Manila. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has financed the manufacture of the LRVs. The delivery is expected to be completed by May 2022.

LRT-1 Cavite Extension will span 11.7 km and cover eight stations. Cavite Extension will be developed at an estimated investment of $1.36 billion. The extension is expected to increase LRT-1’s daily ridership from 500,000 passengers to 800,000 passengers. As of August 2021, about 60 per cent of project is complete. The Cavite extension is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2027.

SMH Rail unveils new locomotive, Malaysia

Malaysia-based rolling stock manufacturer and maintenance service provider SMH Rail Sdn Bhd has recently launched its latest H10 Series locomotives. The H10 Series features advanced technology as well as modern design engineering, which will facilitate a green railway ecosystem by minimising emissions and promoting green operations.

The new locomotive can potentially replace 100 cargo trucks, reduce carbon emissions by up to 75 per cent, lower highway congestion, and is four times more fuel efficient than road freight transport on average. Its practical design ensures high reliability and availability for improved operational efficiency, increased haulage capacity and reduction of maintenance challenges, resulting in lower overall life cycle costs.

The way forward

Going forward, the increase in use of public transport services as a solution to minimise traffic congestion, and surge in demand for secure, safer and efficient transport system will drive the growth of the global rolling stock market. Further, technology will continue to play a major role with the development of autonomous trains transforming the urban transport system. This will open up new opportunities for players in the rolling stock market in the future.