Swiss named European champions of train travel

When it comes to the number of trips taken and kilometres travelled by train, people in Switzerland top the charts.

Swiss named European champions of train travel
The Swiss are champions of rail travel.Photo by AFP

According to a new study released on Thursday by the Swiss League for the Rational Organisation of Traffic (LITRA), the Swiss used the rail 74 times in 2019, travelling a total of 2,505 kilometers.

In terms of distance traveled per inhabitant, Switzerland stands out clearly from other European countries.

Second in the ranking is Austria (1,489 km), Sweden (1,415 km), France (1,394 km) and Germany (1,205 km).

And in regards to the number of trips each resident took on average in 2019, Switzerland’s record of 74 is followed by Luxemburg (40). Denmark, Austria and Germany tied for the third place with 35 trips per country.

On the other hand, railways suffer from low popularity and a less developed network in other countries, LITRA’s research shows.

This is the case in Estonia, where an average person used the train only 6 times, Croatia (5 times), Romania (4 times), Bulgaria (3 times) and Greece (2 times).

READ MORE: Where are Switzerland’s best and worst train stations?

Earlier international studies consistently rate Switzerland’s railway system as best in Europe “thanks to excellent intensity of use, notably driven by passenger traffic. It also has a good rating for quality of service and a very good rating for safety”. 

And another survey, The Great Train Comparison, compared 16 major European operators and voted the Swiss national railways as best overall. 

However, LITRA notes that 2020 figures for Switzerland will not be as high.

“Passenger traffic is only slowly recovering from the damage caused in the spring by Covid-19. In the third quarter, demand is still 30 percent lower than last year”, the organisation noted.


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Rail services to remain disrupted in Switzerland in the coming days

Snow and sub-zero temperatures over the weekend caused havoc on some train lines, mainly in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Rail services to remain disrupted in Switzerland in the coming days
Snow has slowed down train traffic in Switzerland. Photo by AFP

Freezing temperatures cut off the power on some lines, disrupting train traffic in several regions.

Internationally, traffic between St. Margrethen in St.Gallen and Munich was interrupted due to heavy snowfall. EuroCity trains between Zurich and Munich were canceled.

Before it resumes normal service, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) must clear a thick layer of snow from trains and remove fallen trees from tracks, the company said on its website.

The train between Basel and Zurich airport will be canceled until Tuesday evening. 

But SBB says it will resume most of its traffic on the main lines on Monday, though at reduced frequency.

Shorter train formations and longer journeys should also be expected in the next few days.

READ MORE: Swiss railways releases new time table: Here's what changes in 2021

How can you know ahead of time about any last-minute cancellations or delays?

The timetable is also constantly updated on the SBB Mobile App. 

Any delays or last minute cancellations are indicated there in real time.

On Twitter, @RailService and @railinfo_cff provide information on possible disruptions as well.

READ MORE: MAP: Return of night trains across Europe comes a step closer