Railway equipment is an industry and market term comprehensive of railroad vehicles – electric multiple unit (EMU) carriages, railway freight cars, locomotives, railroad maintenance and service vehicles – and sometimes the infrastructure and equipment required for the construction, maintenance, and servicing of railways and railroad networks.
One of the highest railway equipment markets by value is for train cars providing motive power, including self-propelled electric train cars also known as multiple units (MU), and locomotives.
Locomotives in the early railroad industry used steam power, although now most modern freight trains use one or more locomotives powered by diesel engines, a hybrid steam-diesel system, or hybrid electrical motor-diesel engine system. Freight locomotives are commonly known as engines due to the power requirements for heavier freight loads. Local and regional commuter and passenger train cars overwhelmingly use EMUs, with an electric motor in each carriage, or an electric locomotive. Increasingly ubiquitous high-speed rail (HSR) systems for passenger rail transport are almost always electric and powered from overhead. Train cars using magnetic levitation (maglev) for propulsion are powered by electricity or electromagnetism. Leading train car manufacturers include Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier, although Chinese manufacturers are beginning to represent viable competitors to European OEMs in developing Asian markets.