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The world’s most exciting rail projects

The rail industry has been a significant source of global employment for centuries, with the UK’s rail system thriving since the first steam locomotive started running in 1804. With the UK rail sector accounting for more than 225,000 jobs in 2016 – and rail passenger and freight operations contributing £5.2 billion in gross value added – it’s safe to say the industry is booming. With this growth comes not only enhanced employment opportunities, but also a variety of new, technology-driven projects that could revolutionise the way we think of rail. We explore some of the biggest and most interesting projects you should have on your radar:

Honolulu Rail Transit Project

Like many densely populated cities, Honolulu has a huge traffic congestion problem. Commuters spend an average of 132 hours per year stuck in traffic, according to the TomTom Traffic Index, making it one of the busiest cities in the USA for drivers - not quite the serene, picture-perfect image you think of when you imagine Hawaii.

To counter this traffic problem, the Honolulu Rail Transit project was established in 2005. Honolulu-based public transit authority HART is the driving force behind the $8.3bn project that aims to introduce a reliable and efficient transportation alternative to the city. As an elevated rail system, the line won’t be affected by accidents or congestion – and it’s fully automated and electrically powered by renewable energy sources. HART estimates the project will take 40,000 vehicles off Honolulu roads every weekday by 2030, with the entire route due to be operational by 2020. With around 70% of the island’s population located within the immediate proximity of the rail corridor by 2030, the Honolulu Rail Transit Project could well and truly revolutionise transport in Hawaii.

GCC Railway

The sheer scale of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Railway Project is exciting enough, and that’s before you factor in the project’s aims to ease road congestion whilst offering environmental benefits. The network will link Oman with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar by the end of 2021, adding Kuwait and Bahrain to the network by the end of 2023. With a price tag of $200bn, the network covers both freight and passenger transport options, aiming to provide an accessible, well-connected and integrated transport system that acts as an alternative to driving or flying. According to Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, the GCC Railway will support “economic growth, development and prosperity”, diversifying transport supply, reducing transportation costs and providing an environmentally-friendly transportation alternative. Providing employment for GCC nationals and providing rail transport for an estimated 8 million passenger per year, the GCC project has enormous potential and provides significant economic benefits to the area, boosting tourism and allowing people to move about more easily and affordably.

The East Link Project

Sweden’s East Link Project is the nation’s first step towards a high-speed railway, and it’s not a moment too soon. With the number of people in Sweden travelling via train doubling in the last 25 years, the current system is overstretched and underperforming. The East Link Project will see trains connecting Stockholm and Gothenburg, as well as Stockholm and Malmo, reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h. With five stations, 30 tunnels, 200 bridges and an estimated cost of €5.5bn, it’s a major project for Sweden, with the first train expected to become operational between 2033-2035.






Great North Rail Project

Closer to home, the Great North Rail Project (GNRP) will be wrapping up in the coming years, expecting to deliver a multi-billion-pound package of improvements for customers across the north of England. Delivering 2,000 extra services each week and allowing an additional 40,000 passengers to travel each day, the GNRP is also contributing to the 27,000 more jobs being supported in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester by 2022. So far, the GNRP has already delivered the Ordsall Chord, which has cut Manchester’s railway congestion by a quarter and won the major project away at the Rail Industry Innovation Awards 2017. Liverpool Lime Street has been reopened, as has a new railway station in Merseyside, and there are projected improvements to everything from journey time, rail reliability and frequency to connections and environmental benefits.

Crossrail and HS2

The high-profile Crossrail and HS2 projects will be front of mind for anyone working in the UK rail industry. Crossrail is the biggest construction project in Europe, commencing in 2009 and providing work for more than 15,000 people. With construction of the eagerly-anticipated Elizabeth line in the final stages and 10 new stations delivered throughout London, Crossrail is set to revolutionise rail travel in London and the South East, providing a 10% increase in rail capacity in central London alone.

Meanwhile, HS2 is set to connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester via high-speed rail that is projected to hit up to 400km/h. Phases are scheduled to open between 2026 and 2033, which means we can expect to see significant employment in this space over the coming years.

Take your next career step in rail

These are just a handful of the interesting projects underway around the world. At Anderselite, we work with clients of all sizes and place candidates across a range of projects, in roles such as Safety Advisor, Planning Analyst, Electrician and Project Manager. Browse our latest rail jobs to find out more.

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