Railway passenger transport statistics - quarterly and annual data

Data from December 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: January 2018

This article takes a look at recent annual and quarterly statistics on rail passenger transport in the European Union (EU). After a period of sustained growth, rail transport performance in passenger-kilometres started to be affected by the economic crisis at the beginning of 2009. Rail passenger transport nevertheless remained less affected than rail freight transport, and registered a recovery from 2010 onwards. A steady growth was observed between 2011 and 2015. Each quarter of these five years observed a growth compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Figure 1: Quarterly evolution of rail passenger transport performance at EU28 level (million passenger-kilometres)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_quartal)
Table 1: Quarterly evolution of rail passenger transport performance (million passenger-kilometres)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_quartal)
Table 2: Evolution of rail passenger transport between 2014 and 2015_(thousand passengers)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_typepas) (annual data) (rail_pa_quartal) (quarterly data)

Main statistical findings

Passenger transport performance by rail continued to recover in 2015

Based on quarterly figures, rail passenger transport performance at EU-28 level continued to increase by 7.7 billion passenger-kilometres between 2014 and 2015 (+1.8 %).

This increase was relatively well distributed over the year, with year-to-year rises in rail passenger transport performance in the four quarters of 2015 (+1.3 %, +1.6 %, +1.8 % and +2.5 % respectively for the four quarters of 2015 compared to the corresponding quarters of the previous year).

The evolution over the recent years shows different patterns at country level

Although rail passenger transport at EU-28 level recorded an increase in 2015 compared to 2014 (for both passenger-kilometres and transport passengers in thousand passengers units), many Member States showed a decrease over the same period. Based on quarterly data, the highest decrease in annual average transport performance among the EU-28 countries can be observed in the Netherlands (-12.4 %), followed by Bulgaria (-8.8 %) and Latvia (-8.2 %). In contrast, the passenger-kilometres in Slovakia, Greece and Luxembourg increased in annual average by 34 %, 17.8 % and 14.5 %, respectively.

Outside the EU-28, all reporting countries recorded a growth in rail passenger transport performance in 2015. The highest increase was observed for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with +119.8 %, followed by Turkey (+9.9 %).

Focusing on the share between national and international transport, national transport is always predominant, representing more than 90 % of the total transport for all countries in 2015 with the exception of Luxembourg. International transport represented 28 % of the total passenger transport by rail in Luxembourg. In Lithuania and Slovakia, the share of national transport slightly increased in 2015 compared with 2014, by 1.5 % and 1.4 %, respectively.

All in all, seventeen of the EU Member states reported increases in passenger transport (in thousand passengers) between 2014 and 2015. The largest increases were recorded in Slovakia (+22.8 %), Greece (+19.7 %) and the Netherlands (+15.6 %). In contrast, the transport of passengers decreased by 11.1 % in Latvia followed by Bulgaria and Lithuania (-8.5 % and -8.1 % respectively). Outside the EU-28, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey registered a growth in rail passenger transport (in thousand passengers) greater than 20 % (21.7 %, 27.3 % and 21.6 % respectively).

Concerning the evolution of international transport (in thousand passengers) between 2014 and 2015, the largest increases were reported by Portugal (+44.9 %) and Czech Republic (+20.9 %). In contrast, the largest decreases were reported by Ireland (-56.1 %) followed by Estonia (-43.3 %). Finally, concerning the evolution of national transport, Slovakia registered the largest increase with +24.7 % and Latvia the largest decrease with -10.8 %.

Data sources and availability

Data availability

The figures presented in this publication have been extracted from Eurostat’s rail transport database. It includes rail transport statistics from the Member States, EFTA and Candidate countries, collected according to Regulation (EC) No 91/2003. The transport of passengers by metro, tram and/or light rail is excluded. The data presented are included in Eurostat’s dissemination database (reference tables are provided under each table and graph).

Country-specific notes - country characteristics of data availability

  • Cyprus: no railways transport
  • Malta: no railways transport
  • Liechtenstein: quarterly data not available; rail transport data provided under simplified reporting only


The various elements present data collected under the detailed and simplified reporting systems. Simplified reporting is an alternative to normal detailed reporting for undertakings for which the annual total performance of passengers transport is less than 200 million passenger-kilometres.

Figure 1 and Table 1 are based on detailed reporting only (quarterly data) while Table 2 combines both simplified and detailed reporting statistics.

Quarterly data are confidential for Austria (Q1 2010 onwards) and Belgium (Q1 2013 onwards).

Detailed annual data are confidential for Belgium and the Netherlands.

Detailed annual data are missing for Denmark, Germany, Greece and Hungary for the reference year 2015.

EU-28 totals have been calculated by estimating missing data at quarterly and country level.

Railway lines in Liechtenstein are operated by ÖBB (Austria) and statistics are reported by Austrian authorities under simplified reporting.


 : not available
- not applicable
0 actual zero or very negligible transport
c confidential data


The content of this statistical article is based on data collected within the framework of the EU rail transport statistics Regulation (EC) No 91/2003 on rail transport statistics.

The basic legal act was amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1192/2003 on rail transport statistics.

See also

Further Eurostat information


Main tables

Railway transport (t_rail)
Rail transport of passengers (ttr00015)


Railway transport (rail)
Railway transport measurement - passengers (rail_pa)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

Excel.jpg Rail passenger transport statistics 2015

Other information