This list of countries by rail transport network size based on International Union of Railways data ranks countries by length of rail lines worked at end of year updated with other reliable sources. These figures also include urban/suburban mass-transport systems; as well as lines which are not used for passenger services.
1. United States - 250,000 km
The US rail network, with an operating route length over 250,000 km, is the biggest in the world. Freight lines constitute about 80% of the country's total rail network, while the total passenger network spans about 35,000 km.
2. China - 124,000 km
China's rail network, with a route length of over 124,000 km, ranks as the second biggest rail network in the world. The extensive network, operated by state-owned China Railway Corporation, carried 2.08 billion passengers (the second highest after Indian Railways) and 3.22 billion tonnes of freight (the second highest after the US railway network) in 2013. The total rail network of the country is targeted to exceed 270,000 km by 2050.
3. Russia - 86,000 km
Russia's whole network, operated by state-owned monopoly Russian Railways (RZD), runs for over 86,000 km. In 2013, the network carried 1.08 billion passengers and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight - the third highest freight volume after the US and China.
4. India - 68,525 km
The Indian nationwide rail network, the fourth longest in the world, is owned and operated by state-owned Indian Railways and includes an operating route length of more than 68,525 km. IR is the world's eighth biggest employer and had 1.331 million employees at the end of 2015-16.
5. Canada - 48,000 km
Canada's 48,000 km of rail lines makes its national network the fifth longest in the world. Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) are the two major freight rail networks operating in the country, while Via Rail operates the 12,500 km intercity passenger rail service. Algoma Central Railway and Ontario Northland Railway are among the other smaller railways providing passenger services to certain rural areas in the country.
6. Germany - 43,468 km
State-owned Deutshe Bahn dominates Germany's 43,468 km railway network, accounting for about 80% of the total freight traffic and 99% of the long-distance passenger traffic. The German railway network had more than 1,300 km of high-speed railway track operational as of mid-2013 and more than 400 km of new high-speed line under construction. Deutshe Bahn opened high-speed services, under the name InterCity Express (ICE), for the first time in 1991. The high-speed network, operated at speeds up to 320 km/h, now connects major German cities and neighbouring countries such as France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria.
7. Australia - 40,000 km
The Australian railway network is the world's seventh longest at more than 40,000 km. Most of the railway network infrastructure is owned and maintained by the Australian government either at the federal or state level. The majority of the trains on the network are, however, operated by private companies.
8. Brazil - 37,743 km
The 37,743 km network is predominantly freight-focussed and includes major iron ore rail lines. The country's passenger rail services are mostly concentrated in urban and suburban areas. Eight Brazilian cities have metro systems, São Paulo Metro being the biggest among them.
9. Argentina - 36,966 km
Argentina's current rail network spanning over 36,966 km in length ranks the eighth largest in the world. Argentina used to have about 47,000 km of rail network at the end of the Second World War, mostly operated by British and French-owned railway companies. But the decline of profits and the rise of highway construction in the subsequent decades reduced the network to the 36,966 km of line that exists today. The railway companies operating on the network were nationalised in 1948 with the creation of the state railroad corporation Ferrocarriles Argentinos.
10. South Africa - 31,000 km
The total network of South African is about 31,000 km. There are some luxury trains in South African and one of the most notable trains is known as the Blue Train. The train runs between Cape Town to Johannesburg. A high-speed rail network has been proposed in the country but the work is yet to begin. The country has one of the best networks in the world.