INTERNATIONAL: Business confidence in the rail sector has improved significantly, and is close to the levels recorded before the economic downturn, according to the latest quarterly results in the Global Rail Index survey undertaken by SCI Verkehr.

None of the companies surveyed were unhappy about the current business market, and the majority were more optimistic in their expectations for the next half year.

According to SCI's third-quarter review, 46% of the companies rated their current position as good, and 20% believed that things had improved since the first quarter of 2010. Orderbooks have remained steady, thanks to rising demand and employment levels also remain stable. More than 70% of the companies surveyed expected that they would be able to maintain or increase prices.

Asked which economic drivers would have a positive impact on the rail technology market over the longer term, most companies identified increasing urbanisation pushing up demand for local rail transport and continuing globalisation.