A new survey of respondents across the rail, aviation and shipping industries has showed rail to be the least affected of all the three industries by the economic downturn and concluded that “the fundamentals of the industry look solid”.

The Way Ahead Survey, conducted by UK law firm Norton Rose, collected responses from 961 individuals across the three industries comprising 654 from the rail industry and 150 from shipping and aviation sector each.

Nearly 80% of respondents in each sector has viewed the rail industry as the best insulated from the current economic crisis.

The sector has also turned out to be the most optimistic of all with 68% of experts from the rail industry expecting an upturn in business within a year.

The survey considered factors such as sourcing of finance through debt, investment or cash, co-operation in joint ventures or other business combinations and consolidation by merger or acquisition.