Industry analysts expect purchases of explosives, weapons and contraband (EWC) detection equipment at rail stations around the world to increase by 3.3% in 2014 and 8.8% in 2015. The majority of the growth will come from Asia where rail expansion projects are ongoing, according to IHS.
Overall, the use of explosives detection equipment remains limited at rail stations, according to the research firm. However, as attacks on rail infrastructure continues, such as the Dec. 30, 2013, train station bombing in Volgograd, Russia, which left 14 dead, the developments of new technologies that meet the unique security needs of the rail industry are expected to drive future growth in the market.
Unlike air travel, where passengers and baggage are scanned for EWC, rail travel is not conducive to the same type of security measures. For example, many passengers use trains or subways as their primary mode of transportation. As such, passengers depend on the easy access and convenience that rail transportation offers.
Additionally, many rail stations have higher passenger volumes than airports. For instance, in 2013, Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport had 71.1 million passengers, compared to Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, which had 1.26 billion passengers.
These factors have led to the development of new technology to detect explosives in crowded areas. Worldwide, rail stations continue to utilize a combination of trace, advanced imagery, explosives detection canines, and explosives trace portals to detect explosives. Moreover, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia have tested their stand-off detection of explosives (STANDEX) system at several European rail stations. The STANDEX system is also expected to be deployed at the 2014 Winter Olympics.