Since the concept of active suspensions appeared, its large possible benefits has attracted continuous exploration in the field of railway engineering. With new demands of higher speed, better ride comfort and lower maintenance cost for railway vehicles, active suspensions are very promising technologies. Being the starting point of commercial application of active suspensions in rail vehicles, tilting trains have become a great success in some countries. With increased technical maturity of sensors and actuators, active suspension has unprecedented development opportunities. In this work, the basic concepts are summarized with new theories and solutions that have appeared over the last decade. Experimental studies and the implementation status of different active suspension technologies are described as well. Firstly, tilting trains are briefly described. Thereafter, an in-depth study for active secondary and primary suspensions is performed. For both topics, after an introductory section an explanation of possible solutions existing in the literature is given. The implementation status is reported. Active secondary suspensions are categorized into active and semi-active suspensions. Primary suspensions are instead divided between acting on solid-axle wheelsets and independently rotating wheels. Lastly, a brief summary and outlook is presented in terms of benefits, research status and challenges. The potential for active suspensions in railway applications is outlined.