Companies in this industry manufacture locomotives, freight and passenger rail cars, and brakes and other parts and equipment used in railroad operations. Major companies include American Railcar Industries, GE, Greenbrier, Progress Rail Locomotive, Trinity Industries, and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies (all based in the US), along with ALSTOM (France), Bombardier (Canada), CRRC Corporation (China), NIPPON SHARYO (Japan), and Siemens (Germany).
Demand for freight rolling stock is driven by fuel prices, as high gas prices shift freight transport from trucks to rail. Demand for passenger rail rolling stock is driven by public investment in regional rail transportation. The profitability of individual companies depends on securing long-term sales contracts with railroad companies and leasing agencies. Large companies have advantages in manufacturing economies of scale. Small companies can compete effectively through consulting services and custom-building locomotive and passenger railcars. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for more than 95% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products are new and rebuilt locomotives; new and rebuilt freight, passenger, street, and rapid-transit cars; and railroad parts and accessories. Other products include railroad vehicles, airbrakes, and rail maintenance equipment, such as ballast spreaders and rail layers.