This paper presents the recent development on active steering for railway vehicles, and carries out a technical appraisal of different actuation schemes and control approaches. It brings together the latest research activities and findings for the full active steering techniques for rail vehicles with the solid-axle wheelsets, independently-rotating wheelsets and wheel-pairs without axles, but relevant work on passive and semi-active solutions is also briefly described. Potential benefits of the use of a combination of modern control technology and mechatronic approach are evaluated, and in particular solutions for the difficult design trade-off between the stability and the curving performance are presented. Various actuation configurations are discussed, and advantages and drawbacks of those schemes are investigated. The outline design using a number of control methods is analysed, and measurement requirement and state estimation techniques essential for implementation of the active steering schemes are also explored. In addition the issue of safety criticality is highlighted and a possible approach for developing fault-tolerant systems is proposed. Overall the paper provides an authoritative assessment of the major advances in actively-steered wheels and addresses outstanding critical issues.