The UK rail transport market increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% over the past six years, to hit a market value of £8.4 billion by the end of 2012.
The railway system in the United Kingdom is the oldest in the world; the world's first locomotive-hauled public railway opened in 1825.
Most of the railway track is managed by Network Rail, which as of 2010 had a network of 15,754 kilometres (9,789 mi) of standard-gauge lines, of which 5,249 kilometres (3,262 mi) are electrified.
These lines range from single to double to quadruple track. In addition, some cities have separate rail-based mass transit systems (including the extensive and historic London Underground). There are also several private railways (some of them narrow-gauge), which are primarily short tourist lines.
Network Rail is the owner and operator of the national rail network in the UK, and provides access to the rail network to train and freight operators. Network Rail's two main activities, infrastructure maintenance and track renewal, are provided in-house and by a supply-chain of contractors and sub-contractors.
At the beginning of the year, Network Rail announced it will spend £37.5 billion on providing 170,000 more peak-time seats, 355,000 more trains and electrifying the two key mainlines. Network Rail said it also intends to invest £600 million in protecting the network against floods and heat waves, as well as cutting the cost of running the railways by 18%.
The United Kingdom railway transportation market is moderately concentrated. The largest players are FirstGroup Plc and Govia Ltd, controlling around 40% of the market, while the top five players control around 66%.
The industry relies on large investments into the business (new carriages, railway stations, etc.), thus concentration is tenable.
The output of the UK's railway transportation industry is forecast to grow by 3% in 2013. Similar increases are expected in coming years over the period to 2018.
For more information on the UK rail transport market, see the latest research: UK Rail Transport Market
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