Inadequate rail transport facilities

Other Names:
Inadequate rail transport in land-locked and transit countries

[Industrialized countries] In the developed countries, passenger carrying rail service has steadily deteriorated. Rolling stock is antiquated; the passengers experience discomfort; and schedules have been cut, increasing waiting times or eliminating service from some stations altogether. Energy and labour costs are blamed, as well as truck and airplane competition for freight. In the developing countries there are insufficient electrification, rail lines, rolling and tractive stock, and personnel to manage, operate and maintain rail systems.

[Land-locked countries] Many land-locked developing countries depend on rail transport for the movement of high-volume traffic, notably minerals and agricultural products. The railway services are, however, very inadequate. Internal networks to facilitate the movement of commodities from different regions, and rail systems extended from the transit country into the land-locked country in order to avoid the need for trans-shipments, are lacking. Other factors affecting the efficiency of railway systems in most of these countries are: skilled manpower shortages at technical, supervisory and managerial levels; poor corporate planning; unsatisfactory maintenance of railway infrastructure and equipment; sub-optimal wagon turnround cycle times; inadequacy of locomotive power and rolling stock; and poor marshalling facilities, which lead to unnecessary delays at terminals and the need for remarshalling en route. Furthermore, bilateral rail agreements designed to harmonize the pattern of operations are in many cases inadequate. Land-locked countries and their transit neighbours have uncoordinated technical standards, documentation and procedures and management practices, as well as a lack of arrangements for the shared use of railway wagons and of port terminal facilities and the sharing of capital investment required for additional installations in the transit country to accommodate transit traffic.


Narrower Problems:
Rail traffic congestion
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 14: Life Below Water
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
17.10.2021 – 08:08 CEST