High-speed evolution


While China attempts to design the fastest train on the planet with the help of the most up-to-date technology and maglev, the rest of the world is not standing by watching: the high-speed train market is expanding at breath-taking speed. 
According to the International Rail Union (UIC), there are 25 thousand kilometres of high-speed rail track worldwide and around 16 thousand currently under construction. Before 2030, another 60 thousand kilometres of high-speed track is due to be built.
Which countries plan to invest in it? The key ones include France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Qatar, India, Australia and the United States.


The latest technological frontier in rail transport is the maglev: defying the force of gravity, the trains no longer travel on a track but are suspended a few centimetres off the ground. Making use of the complex balance between gravitational, electrical and magnetic forces, an as yet unexplored advantage is achieved: with air as the only source of friction, speeds, that have so far been unthinkable, can now be reached. 
Some countries have already moved on from the theoretical stage to putting their work into practise and many others are not far behind: Japan leads the way, still holding the record for a top speed of 603 km/h, while China recently launched a train with a record speed averaging 350 km/h and a maximum speed of 400 km/h.
The Hyperloop project that Tesla is working on and the T-Flight project run by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation are even more futuristic: the former will travel at the speed of sound while the latter will be five times faster than an airline. Italy is also developing its own maglev technology, due to be launched in 2020. Known as IronLev, no electricity is required as it makes use of certain physical properties of matter.


Italy continues to benefit from investments in the rail industry and urban transport system, with considerable business opportunities for companies in this industry: modernising existing structures; investing in rolling stock; expanding and modernising stations and undergrounds in key cities.
More specifically, RFI (Italian Rail Network) is investing 17 billion Euro to improve infrastructures between 2015 and 2020, setting aside a quarter of this money for high-speed links between Milan-Venice and Milan-Genoa and enforcing safety systems and renovation of urban lines and key stations. Works amounting to 8.5 billion Euro have been approved for the Turin-Lyon line and the 8 billion Euro work continues on the central Brenner tunnel. Trenitalia is also preparing to renew its rolling stock at a cost of 4.5 billion Euro and the private operator, NTV, will invest 460 in high-speed trains.


With 25 years' experience behind it, CUSTOM's Ticketing division has always focused on providing innovative products for the transport industry. CUSTOM products are installed all over the world, covering an increasing number of urban rail and underground lines: 
- in Italy, the Ferrovie dello Stato and Italo self-service ticket machines use Custom printers and cover most of the country;
- in Europe, Custom ticketing products serve around 140 thousand kilometres of track, including the Hungarian, Belgian, Czech Republic, Austrian and Polish Railways (with KZL);
- Russian Railway lines also use Custom products: Custom printers' high resistance to extreme weather conditions makes them the ideal product for providing a flawless service across the entire Trans-Siberian stretch.
Some of the latest installations include:
- VKP80III, the compact, flexible ticket printer installed in each of the TVMs of the French Railway Company, SNCF;
- VKP80II SX, the number one receipt/ticket printer in the world for self-service kiosks, also installed on Swedish urban transport lines;
- KPM302, the self-service ticket machine that, together with the TK302 RFID, serves the urban transport lines in Bordeaux (France) and Doha (Qatar).

Published on 06/10/2017 in Trends & Markets