According to the Lucintel report Opportunities for Composites in the Worldwide Passenger Railway Market 2010-2015, composites consumption in the passenger rail industry is driven by growth in the overall passenger rail market, and by increases in composites penetration in passenger railcar models. From their early adoption in high speed trains, composites have gained market share across a range of applications in the passenger rail industry. Composites provide several advantages over traditional materials, but their initial cost has been a barrier to faster growth in the passenger rail industry.

The passenger rail industry is highly dominated by glass fibre composites. Glass/polyester accounts for the majority of the composite materials consumed, while usage of glass/phenolic composites is confined to fire risk applications.

In 2009, Europe was the main consumer of composites in the passenger rail industry, and is expected to maintain robust growth over the forecast period. Increased spending in railways by key Asian economies is also likely to provide significant opportunities for composite materials suppliers and moulders.