740 - Tren yolcuları - Onur

Top countries travelling by train


The research about train travel among 26 EU countries, Switzerland, USA, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Russia and Turkey is quite interesting.

EU contries are on the top of the list, except #1. Turkey unfortunately is close to bottom. Two countries at the bottom are suprisingly two huge countries having quite strong rail freight.

Here are the 10 countries at the bottom according to this research:

#34 – USA and Canada

These two countries which have the longest and heaviest trains in the world, are at the bottom of the list in passenger transportation. Citizens of both countries travel 0.1 times in a year. USA has longer network than all EU (228k km) and has a population of over 300 million, however only 30 million passengers trave by train.

#33 –  China

China has the longest HST network in the world. 1.5 billion people traveled by train in 2015. This means 1.1 train travel/citizen.

#32 – Turkey

95 million passengers is told to travel in 2015 in Turkey. This means 1.2 train travel/ciziten. This is not clear, since Marmaray is included in this figure, but not Izban. If Marmaray is excluded, number of passengers decrease to  million, where if Izban is included, it reaches to 183 million. With Izban, Turkey passes 2 countries, Lithuania and Greece.

#31 – Lithuania

Lithuania is a very small country. Citizens travel 1.4 times annually.

#30 – Greece

Greece is also at the bottom amount EU countries. Average travel frequency is 1.5 times.

#29 – Bulgaria

Average travel frequency is 3.2 times in Bulgaria.

#28 – Romanya

Average travel frequency is 3.3 times in Romania.

#27 – Crotia

Average travel frequency is 5.2 times in Crotia.

#26 – Esthonia

Average travel frequency is 5.3 times in Esthonia.

Top 10 countries using train for passenger transportion are as follows:

#10 – Netherland

350 million passengers travel on 3k-km-long rail network of Netherland. Average travel frequency is 20.6 times.

#9 – Belgium

Belgium has very similar figures with Netherland. Average travel frequency is 20.7 times.

#8 – Sweden

Sweden has a very similar rail network length with Turkey (10 908 km). Number of passengers in a year is 220 million. Average travel frequency is 22.2 times.

#7 – UK

First a decrease and then a sharp increase was seen in rail transport after privatization in UK. Number of rail passengers is 1.7 billion. UK is #7 with a travel frequency of 26.8.

#6 – Austria

Austria has a population of 9 million and 300 million rail passengers every year. Travel frequency is 32.9.

#5 – Germany

Germany has the longest rail network in Europe with 39k km. 2.7 billion passengers travel by train in a year. Travel frequency is 33.3.

#4 – Denmark

This small European country (Turkey has 20 times bigger land) is #4. Citizens of Denmark travel 37.3 times by rail in a year.

#3 – Luxembourg

40 million passengers travel by train in Luxembourg. The country has a population of 1 million, thus the travel frequency is 40.

#2 – Switzerland

This highland European country is the #1 in Europe in terms of rail transport. 488 million people traveled by train in 2015. Travel frequency is 58.8, which makes Switzerland #1 in Europe and #2 in the world.

#1 – Japan

Japan is #1 by far in rail transport. Every year 23.6 billion passengers travel by train. This is more than total rail passengers of all countries above. Each Japanese travel 185.8 times by train in a year, which means a travel every 2 days. Japan has only twofold rail network length of Turkey, which provides an extraordinary efficiency.

Cover Photo: Onur Uysal ©

Written by Onur Uysal

Railway consultant. Owner of RT Media & Consultancy. Founder and editor of Rail Turkey.

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