European rail study report

Britain's railways are the most improved in Europe, according to the most comprehensive comparison study yet published of the rail networks in all 27 EU countries. 

The report looks at how the railways in Europe have progressed and improved since the 1990s according to a range of 14 different factors. Britain came top in four of the factors, second and third in another two and fourth in three, coming top overall. Europe’s other big rail networks - Germany, France and Italy - came 7th, 10th and 23rd respectively.

“We made clear in our five year plan published in January that we are under no illusion about the challenges that both we, and the passengers who use the railway, face on a daily basis, and the need to keep improving from the low base to which Britain's railway had sunk in the 1990s.

We continue to work with other railways so that we can all learn from best practice in our businesses and we welcome efforts by the Commission to provide improved consistency and transparency of data. ” David Higgins, chief executive, Network Rail.

The report shows both the progress we've made in driving forward our performance, and the very real challenges and opportunities that the growth in demand poses for us all. We run one of Europe’s most intense, fastest growing railways with all the implications for wear and tear as well as congestion that that implies. That is why we have made the case for sustained investment in both renewing and modernising the railway while increasing its capacity.

European rail comparison study