The major countries of Asia continue to rely heavily, and in some areas almost exclusively, on railroads for both freight and passenger transportation. Passenger traffic on most systems is particularly heavy because of rapidly increasing populations and the comparative absence of modern highways. Regardless of lack of competition, Asian railways still have the problem of finding funds for modernization and development.
Railroads are the chief mode of transportation in Asia, although the level of development is mixed. Some countries, such as Russia and Japan, have vast, sophisticated networks. Other countries, such as Myanmar.
Some countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia, have done a spectacular job of keeping their railroads up to date since the heavy damage inflicted during World War II. Other railways in the region, such as those in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Cambodia, have fallen into a state of serious neglect through inattention, war, or both.