2022 is set to be an exciting year in the rail industry with many new rail construction projects underway!
This blog provides updates on project scope, budgets and progress for the top 2022 rail projects to watch in 2022!
Project 1: HS2, England
Estimated budget: £98 billion
The HS2 Line is the new high speed rail line which will link London, The Midlands, The North and Scotland. The new railway line will consist of 343 miles of track and will operate trains running at speeds of up to 225 mph.
The project is currently under operation and has 200 active worksites spanning between London and Birmingham. The new project has also provided job opportunities to over 34,000 workers within the UK.
HS2 aims to provide a low carbon option for domestic travel, by connecting different regions of the UK, it is hoped that people will opt to travel via rail rather than domestic flights, a change which would save up to 17 times the amount of carbon emissions.
However, the most recent update to the HS2 project caused controversy due to the cancellation of the Leeds line in phase 2b of the project, however the government have made new plans to invest money into Leeds station as part of the £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan.
Project 2: Ho Chi Minh Line 2, Vietnam
Estimated budget: $6.25 billion
The Ho Chi Minh Line will be Vietnam's first rapid transport network, it will consist of 8 lines in total and will serve the business and financial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.
It is hoped that the new transport network will combat problems magnified by rapid urban expansion. It is thought by 2040 this network will be used by over 800,000 passengers to commute daily.
Site teams are currently clearing land for construction to prepare for the three phases of line 2. Phase 1 will run between Ben Thanh Market and Tham Luong, Phase 2 will run between Ben Thanh-Thu Thiem section and Tham Lương- Tay Ninh bus terminal section whilst Phase 3 will run between Tay Ninh Bus Terminal-Tay Bac Urban Area.
The project has experienced delays due to the recent Covid 19 crisis, however construction is due to begin in 2022. Phase 1 of line 2 is hoped to be completed by 2026.
Project 3: Line 4, Milan Blue Line Metro, Italy
Estimated budget: €1.7 billion
Originally forecasted to be completed in 2015, due to delays in finance and construction work, Line 4 of the Milan Blue Line Metro is now expected to open in 2022.
Line 4, will be completely underground and is predicted to have an annual ridership of approximately 89 million passengers per year. The new rail line will be 15km in length and will operate completely automatic, driverless trains.
The €1.7bn investment comes as part of the effort to develop rapid, sustainable and efficient communication methods. Line 4 will connect the southern outskirts and city airport to Milan city which will significantly improve air quality and journey times for local residents.
Project 4: Beijing-Zhangjiakou Bullet Train, China
Estimated budget: $33 billion
Designed to connect Beijing and Zhangjiakou, the twin host cities of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, The Beijing-Zhangjiakou intercity railway is nearing completion.
The innovative railway features smart auto driving bullet trains, equipped with cold resistant technology enabling them to function within the extreme cold environment of -4 degrees. The use of bullet trains are reported to have shortened travel times from 3 hours and 7 minutes to only 47 minutes!
The railway is 174km long and there are 10 stations along the line.
Project 5: Heruo Railway, China
The Heruo Railways line, located in China, will be the world’s first desert circling railway.
Construction on the project began in 2018 and the railway line is expected to be open for services in June 2022. The tracks form a closed railway loop around the Taklimakan Desert and is designed to connect Hetian City in Southern Xinjiang and Ruoqiang County in Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture also in Southern Xinjiang.
The railway was developed as part of China’s ‘go west’ strategy and aims to connect remote communities within the west regions of the country. Trains on the line will run at a speed of 120 miles per hour which is estimated to reduce the journey time from Hetian prefecture in Xinjiang and Xining, capital of Northwest China’s Qinghai Province, from three days to just one.
Project 6: Etihad Rail, Dubai
Estimated budget: $11 billion
Established in 2009, Etihad Rail is the United Arab Emirates biggest ever rail project. Once fully operational, the 1,200 km Etihad Rail Network will replace 5,600 daily trips made by lorries on the roads.
Stage 1 of the project was completed in 2016 and is currently in operation. Trains running along the 264km route from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais transport freight loads of sulphur. Stage 2 of the project will connect the UAE and Saudi Arabia from Fujairah Port to Ghuweifat, through Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port.
It is estimated that stage 2 of the line will be completed by 2030. By 2030 the Etihad line will not only transport freight but also passengers, which is expected to reduce greenhouse gasses by more than 2.2 million tonnes annually.
Project 7: Tren Maya Rail Line, Mexico
Estimated budget: $7 billion
The Tren Maya Railway Line in Mexico is a 1,525km rail project which will connect the major cities and tourist hubs of the Yucatán Peninsula. Mexico's national fund for the promotion of tourism has promised to ensure the first section of the project is completed by 2023.
The development of the rail line is predicted to significantly cut passenger and freight transportation costs whilst also supporting economic growth within the region.
Another exciting rail construction project being developed on the Tren Maya Railway line is Tulum station, inspired by the famous Mayan Ruins of Mexico. Construction on the station is due to commence in January 2022 and be completed by the end of 2023.
The station's design consists of a lattice roof, structural steel and glass reinforced concrete panels and is a response to Tulum's extreme climate. It is hoped the station will cultivate a low carbon footprint due to the introduction of non mechanical ventilation mechanisms.
Project 8: Gawler Rail Electrification Project, Australia
Estimated budget: $715 million
The Gawler Rail Electrification Project, costing $715 million, is being jointly funded by Australian and South Australian Governments. The exciting project has an expected completion date of early 2022 and will aim to encourage people to take public transport and leave cars at home by providing a faster, more reliable rail service.
The project is being delivered by the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, and combined with the existing Seaford line, the 78km rail network from Gawler to Seaford will be completely electrified.
The scope of works for the project also includes the acquisition of 12 additional electric trains, referencing of the rail corridor to improve safety and the replacement of the signalling systems.
Project 9: Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, Mumbai
Estimated budget: $17.15 billion
The exciting Ahmedabad project will be India's first ever high speed rail line and will connect Mumbai with the city of Ahmedabad. The project was initially predicted to be completed by December 2023, however due to delays, it is now more likely the project will not be completed until late 2028.
The high speed link, spanning 508km and costing a predicted $17.15 billion, is expected to reduce travel times between Mumbai and Ahmedabad from over seven hours to just under two hours. The rail line will cover 12 stations in total.
The high speed bullet trains running along the line are predicted to run at a speed of 350km per hour between the two cities!
Project 10: Inland Rail Project, Australia
Estimated budget: $A 14.5 billion
The 1,700km Inland Rail Project is set to transform how goods are transported around Australia and is considered one of the most significant infrastructure projects globally.
A total of $14.5 billion has been invested by the Australian Government to build the Inland Rail line in partnership with the private sectors. The rail project will connect Melbourne to Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Construction of the project began in 2018 and is currently expected to be completed in late 2027. The tracks will carry double stacked, 1,800m long trains at a maximum speed of 115km per hour, vastly increasing the volumes of freight which is able to be transported.
Project 11: High-speed Maglev Test Line, China
The North University of China and the Third Research Institute at China’s Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation have begun the construction of an exciting test line within the Shanxi Province to explore the use of Maglev trains operating at speeds of up to 1,000 KM an hour.
The development of this type of technology is being explored as a means to create a mode of transport which offers an alternative to travel by plane. Innovative technology of a low vacuum pipeline magnetic levitation enables friction resistance to be eliminated, allowing vehicles to travel on ground at speeds faster than air travel.
The first section of the Maglev line will link the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou, the ultra fast technology used within Maglev trains is estimated to reduce the time taken to travel between the two cities from 3 hours and 45 minutes to just 2 hours.
Project 12: Hyperloop
Although not an actively commencing project, Hyperloop technology is definitely an exciting prospective rail construction project to keep an eye on in 2022!
Hyperloop technology is currently being developed by some of the leaders in innovative rail construction projects such as Virgin Group, Transpod, Arrivo and many others.
Hyperloop trains or pods would use new technologies such as magnetic levitation to transport passengers through low pressurized tubes either above or below ground. With potential speeds of the Hyperloop system being estimated to be as high as 760 mph, there would be a huge potential economic benefit of using this transport system to transport both passengers and freight worldwide.
Although supporters of the Hyperloop projects claim it could also be quicker and cheaper to develop than traditional high speed rail lines, this technology certainly seems a long way off completion, nevertheless it is still an exciting project to follow along with in 2022!
Project 13: Egypt High Speed Rail Line, Egypt
Estimated budget: $4.5 billion
2022 marks an exciting year for the development of Egypt’s maiden high speed rail project which will connect Ciaro to surrounding cities.
The new rail line will carry both passengers and freight across the Egyptian desert and is predicted to be completed by 2027. When fully operational, the new high speed line is expected to carry 30 million passengers per year, whilst reducing travel times by as much as 50%. The rail line is also expected to increase freight capacity by 15%!
The first line of the project, which will provide a link between the port cities of Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria on the Mediterranean, is expected to be fully operational by 2023.
Additionally, it is hoped that when completed, the new high speed line will cut carbon emissions by 70%!
Project 14: Rail Baltica, Baltic States
Estimated budget: €5.8 billion
The new and innovative Rail Baltica project will not only connect the Baltic States, but will also connect Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to Europe's railway ecosystem!
Trains on the new rail line will travel at speeds of 234 kmph to provide a fast rail connection between all of the Baltic capitals every two hours! The Rail Baltica line will span 870 km and will stop at 7 international stations.
The extensive project, which will greatly increase the connectivity between ports and airports, will be 85% funded by the European Union. Additionally, the vast project will provide thousands of jobs across multiple cities and regions.
The Rail Baltica project is expected to be finished and operational by 2026!
Project 15: Chuo Shinkansen High Speed Line - Japan
Estimated budget: $57 billion
The Chuo Shinkansen high speed rail line Japan, also known as the Tokaido Shinkansen Bypass, is a new high speed maglev line which reduces travel times between Tokyo and Nagoya by up to 50%.
The innovative and exciting rail project is being led by the Central Japan Railway Company and it’s first phase is currently under construction. Phase 1 of the project will run past six stations: Shinagawa Station, the Nagoya Station, and one station each at Kanagawa Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, and Gifo Prefecture. Phase one of the project alone is estimated to cost around $52bn.
Whilst phase one of the project is expected to be fully operational by 2027, the following phases that will eventually reach Osaka are not predicted to be finished until 2037 at the earliest!
Project 16: California High Speed Rail, California
Estimated budget: $80 billion
California is currently constructing the state's first ever high speed rail line! The project, which is being overseen by the California High Speed Rail Authority, will span a total of 1,287km and will connect San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The project is being developed as part of an initiative to create a more robust transport system which is able to support California's estimated population growth estimates. As well as connecting California's major regions, the project also aims to contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands. To support this vision, the government body overseeing the project has pledged to recycle 100% of all usable concrete and steel from the destruction of buildings resulting as part of the construction of the line.
Construction of the project began in January of 2015, however the first 274km phase of the project, which will accommodate trains running at speeds of up to 220mph, is not expected to be finished until 2028!
Project 17: Johor Bahru Rapid Transit System, Malaysia
Estimated budget: $3.24 billion
The Johor Bahru - Singapore Rapid Transport System began construction in 2021 and will offer a fast and efficient transport system between Malaysia and Singapore.
The project is currently being jointly developed and led by the Singapore Land Transport Authority and Malaysia's Mass Rapid Transport Corporation. The cross border transport link is being developed to try to ease traffic congestion, improve connectivity and foster economic and social ties between the two countries.
The trainline also involves the construction of two stations; the Woodlands North Station in Singapore and the Bukit Chagar Station in Malaysia. The Woodland station will be constructed at a depth of 28 metres underground!
Although construction began in 2021, this exciting project is not predicted to be operational until the end of 2026!
Project 18: San Fransisco Subway, California
Estimated budget: $US 1.6 billion
The San Francisco Central Subway, an extension of the existing Muni Metro system, is one of the exciting projects which is due to be completed in 2022!
The extension of the line will measure approximately 2.7km in length and will connect the major employment and tourist hubs of San Francisco with a more robust and reliable transport system.
Since the $US 1.6bn project began construction in 2010, four new stations have also been built as part of the extension to the metro line. Although now 98% complete, due to multiple delays throughout the project's duration, it is estimated there is still 9 months of testing to be undertaken before the line can open for public use!
Project 19: Riydah Metro, Saudi Arabia
Estimated budget: $22.5 billion
The Riydah metro is currently expected to open within the first half of 2022! The new rapid transport rail system, expected to reach a capacity of 3.6 million passengers daily, will host 85 stations and will reach a total length of 176 km.
The new rail line is expected to become the prime method of transport for the citizens of Riydah, capital city of Saudi Arabia. The metro line has been built to deal with the rapidly growing population of Saudi Arabia which is expected to reach 8.2 million by 2030! Additionally, the new project aims to drastically decrease the carbon emissions and pollutants released by road traffic.
The extensive metro system will consist of 6 separate lines, the longest of which being the 40.7km Orange Line, which will run from Madina Al Munawra to Rahman Al Awal Road. Arriyadh Development Authority, the owner of the metro, awarded the project contracts to BACS, Arriyadh New Mobility and FAST, in August 2013.
Project 20: City Rail Link, New Zealand
Estimated budget: $4.419 billion
The development of the City Rail Link will mark the delivery of Auckland's first ever underground railway line. The exciting rail project aims to be fully operational by 2024.
The new underground rail link will aim to improve the lives of Auckland's residents by facilitating a faster and easier way to travel. The new rail line will double the capacity of Auckland's existing rail systems, whilst also including a new contactless payment system providing passengers with a more streamlined and quicker rail experience! Upon completion of the City Rail link, passengers will only face a three minute travel time to travel to the uptown Karangahape Station, six minutes to the mid-town Aotea Station and nine minutes to the downtown Britomart Station!
The new underground metro system will create a direct link between west and east Auckland. The new line will also involve the construction of three new stations whilst also transforming the current 'dead end' Britomart station into a through station.
Project 21: Istanbul Airport Metro Line, Turkey
Estimated budget: $1.68 billion
Turkey's fastest ever railway line is expected to be completed and operational in 2022! Trains on the line will travel at 120mph and will connect Gayrettepe to Istanbul Airport.
The line is expected to span a total of 37.5km and is forecast to serve around 600,000 passengers daily. The new line will almost cut travel times by 50%, which is expected to provide great relief to local residents and tourists who regularly have to navigate Istanbul's congested roads.
Additionally, the line is also expected to present huge economic benefits to Turkey as it is predicted a total of $3.01 million will be saved over the next three decades due to decreased road maintenance costs and air pollution!
Image via: Wikipedia 'Instanbul Metro'
Project 22: Jakarta Bangdung, Indonesia
Estimated budget: $8 billion
The Jakarta Bangdung line will mark Indonesia's first ever high speed rail project. The new 142km line will connect two of Indonesia's biggest cities, Jakarta and Bangdung and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022!
Trains on the line are expected to run at high speeds of up to 250mph, which will reduce current journeys between the two cities to just 30 minutes from 4 hours. When the line is fully operational, it is expected to serve around 44,000 commuters each day.
The railway route will pass four different stations in; Gambir, Manggarai, Halim and Walini. It is expected that these stations will experience increased growth and development resulting in overall socioeconomic benefits for Indonesia. Additionally, it has been estimated that the construction project will generate up to 40,000 jobs a year, further enhancing economic benefits!
The 22 innovative global rail projects discussed in this article demonstrate the incredible progress being made in the rail industry, as it continues to innovate and invest in sustainable transportation infrastructure around the world. From high-speed trains and driverless technology to cutting-edge design and energy sources, the projects highlighted in this article show the wide range of ways the industry is working to improve the passenger experience, increase efficiency, and reduce the carbon footprint of rail transportation.
One of the most notable trends among these projects is the focus on sustainability. As climate change continues to be a pressing issue, the rail industry has stepped up to play its part in reducing carbon emissions. Many of the projects discussed in this article incorporate sustainable energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel cells and solar power, to reduce the environmental impact of rail transportation.
Another key trend is the continued growth of high-speed rail networks around the world, particularly in Asia and Europe. These networks are connecting major cities and reducing travel times.