Railway passenger transport statistics - quarterly and annual data

From Statistics Explained

This is the stable Version.
Data from November 2014. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

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.

Figure 1: Quarterly evolution of rail passenger transport performance at EU-28 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 2012 and 2013
(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 2013

Based on quarterly figures, rail passenger transport performance at EU-28 level continued to increase by around 5 billion passenger-kilometres between 2012 and 2013 (+1.3 %).

This increase was relatively well distributed over the year, with year-to-year rises in rail passenger transport performance in the four quarters of 2013 (+0.3 %, +2.5 %, +1.3 % and +1.0 % respectively for the four quarters of 2013 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 has recorded an increase in 2013 compared to 2012, many Member States have recorded a decrease over the same period. Based on quarterly data, the highest decrease within the European Union can be observed in Croatia (-21.8 %), followed by Estonia (-5.5 %), Portugal (-4.0 %) and Poland (-4.0 %). In contrast, the total number of rail passengers in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy increased by 7.2 %, 6.7 % and 6.4 % respectively. The United Kingdom has confirmed its ascendant trend in 2013 with an increase of 1.7 %, following a rise of 7.4 % in 2010, 7.2 % in 2011 and 5.5 % in 2012.

Outside the EU-28, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey have recorded a high decrease in rail passenger transport in 2013 (-18.2% and -18.1% respectively), contrasting with the 17.7 % rise recorded in Montenegro over the same period.

Focusing on the share between national and international transport, national transport is always predominant, representing around 90 % or more of the total transport for each country in 2013. The only exception is Luxembourg, where international transport represented 28 % of the total passenger transport by rail.

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, collected according to Regulation 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 (see country codes)

  • CY No railways transport
  • MT No railways transport
  • LI Quarterly data not available; Liechtenstein provides rail transport data 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 freight transport is less than 500 million tonne-kilometres. Quarterly figures are only collected under detailed reporting.

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 missing for Belgium (Q1 to Q4), Greece (Q1 to Q4) and Luxembourg (Q3 to Q4) for the reference year 2013. For comparability purposes at EU-28 level, the most recent data available for the corresponding quarter have been used to estimate the quarterly EU totals in Figure 1.

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 91/2003 on rail transport statistics.

The basic legal act was amended by Commission Regulation 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

Other information