Efficiency of Train Services in Europe

How good are train services around Europe?

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Map of the efficiency of train services in Europe.

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Europe has one of the densest and oldest railway networks in the world. However, the quality of the train services still varies quite a bit from country to country. We can find some of the world’s best and worst train services in Europe.

Half of the global top 10 consists of European countries. The global top 5 is dominated by Asian countries, with Japan being the global number one. Switzerland has the best train services in Europe and ranks third globally. The second-best train services in Europe can be found in the Netherlands, with a score of 5.7 out of 7. Finland, Spain and Austria are the other European countries in the global top 10.

The European country with the lowest rated railway services, is Albania. It receives a score of only 1.2. Not only has Albania the worst train services in Europe, it also has the worst in the world (together with Uruguay).

For some people, especially in Western Europe, these numbers might come as a surprise. Personally, I think people underestimate the quality of their train services. One of the favourite things for Europeans to complain about, is the train services. And I do understand that. It is indeed very frustrating when your train is delayed and you miss your connection. But we do have to realise that, apart from East Asia, Europe has one of the densest and better railway networks in the world.

If you’re curious about the quality of the train services in Asia, check out this map.

The data for this map comes from the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 by the World Economic Forum, in which 141 countries are rated on a variety of topics. Some of those ratings are the outcome of The Executive Opinion Survey. 12,987 business executives in 139 economies answered 78 questions, which asks them to evaluate the situation for specific domains at the country level. One of these questions was: “In your country, how efficient (i.e., frequency, punctuality, speed, price) are train transport services?”. People could give a rating from 1 (extremely inefficient, among the worst in the world) to 7 (extremely efficient, among the best in the world).

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