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Railway passenger transport statistics - quarterly and annual data

Data extracted in November 2020.

Planned article update: November 2021.

Highlights
In 2019, rail passenger transport in the EU was estimated at 416 billion passenger-kilometres, up 3.4 % from the previous year.
Passenger transport by rail in the EU continued its growth in 2019 for the sixth successive year.

Quarterly rail passenger transport for main undertakings, EU-27, 2013-2019

This article takes a look at recent annual and quarterly statistics on rail passenger transport in the European Union (EU). The article is based on data collected on the basis of Regulation (EU) No 2018/643 recast of Regulation (EU) No 2016/2032.

Full article

Rail passenger transport performance continued to increase in 2019

Estimated at 416 billion passenger-kilometres in 2019, rail passenger transport performance at EU level continued its increase by 3.4 % compared with 2018 (see Figure 1). A steady growth was observed between 2013 and 2019, with a growth in each quarter of the six years compared with the same quarter of the previous year, except in the second quarter of 2018 (-2.2 %) and the fourth quarter of 2019 (-0.1 %).

Figure 1: Rail passenger transport for main undertakings, EU-27, 2013-2019
(billion passenger-kilometres)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_typepas)

This increase was mainly influenced by the second quarter of 2019 (+8.7 % compared with the same quarter of 2018). The first and third quarters also showed a positive trend of 2.9 % and 4.1 %, respectively, while the fourth quarter slightly decreased by 0.1 %.

A seasonal pattern can be observed with drops in the first and fourth quarters and increases in the second and third quarters when comparing to the previous quarter. However, in 2016 and 2017, the fourth quarter showed slight increases of 0.2 % and 0.4 % respectively, compared to the previous quarter. In 2018 and 2019, the usual seasonal pattern is back (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Quarterly rail passenger transport for main undertakings, EU-27, 2013-2019
(billion passenger-kilometres)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_quartal)

In 2019, national transport represented more than two thirds of the total transport in all countries

Focusing on the share between national and international transport, national transport is always predominant, representing more than 80 % of the total transport for all countries in 2019; the exception to this is Luxembourg, where national transport represented only 68 % of the total passenger transport by rail but international transport represented 32 % (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Rail passenger transport by type of transport for main undertakings, 2019
(% share in passenger-kilometres)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_typepas)

Although rail passenger transport performance (in passenger-kilometres) at EU level recorded an increase in 2019 compared with 2018, three Member States showed a decrease over the same period. The highest decrease among the EU countries can be observed in Estonia (-6.0 %), followed by Croatia (-3.1 %). In contrast, rail passenger transport performance in Greece and Portugal increased substantially by 13.4 % and 10.6 % respectively. Outside the EU, the candidate country Turkey recorded a significant growth of 99.1 %.

Table 1: Rail passenger transport by type of transport for main undertakings, 2018-2019
(million passenger-kilometres)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_typepas) and (rail_pa_quartal)

Concerning the evolution of international transport performance between 2018 and 2019, the largest increases were reported by Bulgaria (+32.2 %), Sweden (+26.6 %), Lithuania (+22.1 %), Romania (+16.6 %), Finland (+15.8 %), Luxembourg (+15.0 %), Germany (+12.9 %) and Czechia (+10.4 %). The candidate country Turkey also registered a large increase of 16.4 %. In contrast, the largest decrease was reported by Greece (-49.0 %), followed by Slovenia (-7.5 %). Only four EU Member States reported a decrease. The candidate country North Macedonia also registered a large decrease of 41.8 %.

Regarding the evolution of national transport performance, only three countries registered a drop in 2019, the highest being for Estonia (-6.6 %). In contrast, Greece reported the largest increase at 13.5 %, followed by Portugal (+10.6 %).

Number of passengers transported by rail increased in 2019

All EU Member states reported increases in passenger transport (in number of passengers) between 2018 and 2019, with the exception of Croatia (-2.1 %). The largest increases were recorded in Portugal (+18.9 %) and Greece (+16.7 %). The candidate country Turkey recorded a significant growth of 63.8 %.

Table 2: Rail passenger transport by type of transport for main undertakings, 2018-2019
(thousand passengers)
Source: Eurostat (rail_pa_typepas) and (rail_pa_quartal)

When looking at the evolution of international transport between 2018 and 2019, the largest increases were reported by Bulgaria (+31.4 %), Lithuania (+16.7 %), Luxembourg (+16.6 %), Romania (+16.0 %), Finland (+15.8 %) , Sweden (+11.8 %), Germany (+10.6 %) and Italy (+10.3 %). In contrast, only three EU Member States reported a decrease, the largest being reported by Greece (-51.1 %). Outside the EU, the candidate country North Macedonia registered a substantial drop of 54.8 %.

Finally, concerning the evolution of national transport, Portugal registered the largest increase at 18.9 %, followed by Greece (+16.8 %). The candidate country Turkey recorded a significant growth of 63.9 %. In contrast, only two EU Member States reported a drop, Croatia (-2.1 %) and Bulgaria (-1.2 %).

Data sources

The figures presented in this article have been extracted from the Eurostat rail transport database. They include data on national, international and transit transport of the Member States, EFTA and Candidate countries, collected according to the Regulation (EU) No 2018/643 recast of Regulation (EU) No 2016/2032. 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). There is no railway in Cyprus and Malta. The various elements present data collected under the detailed reporting system, meaning that data include only main undertakings which are defined as follows:

  • Until 2015: undertakings with a total transport performance greater than 500 million tonne-km or 200 million passenger-km.
  • From 2016: undertakings with a total volume of goods transport of at least 200 million tonne-km or at least 500 000 tonnes or total volume of passengers transport of at least 100 million passenger-km.

Railway undertakings which are below the thresholds may be included for some countries. Basic results and derived indicators (such as growth rates and shares in % of total) in the tables are rounded. However, the figures are based on the non-rounded original data. As a result, the sum of shares in % of total, as shown in the tables, is not necessarily equal to 100 %. Explanatory notes for countries are available in the metadata on the Eurostat website Symbols

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

Context

The content of this statistical article is based on data collected within the framework of Regulation (EU) No 2018/643 recast of Regulation (EU) No 2016/2032.

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Railway transport (t_rail)
Rail transport of passengers (ttr00015)
Railway transport (rail)
Railway transport measurement - passengers (rail_pa)

Notes