Categories: Europe

EU: Rail transport severely impacted by COVID-19 in 2020


The FINANCIAL — As a result of strict precautionary measures and a reduced number of trains in operation since March 2020, rail transport reduced significantly in the EU. Freight transport was impacted by those restrictions to a much lesser extent than passenger transport, which almost halved between 2019 and 2020 (-46%) reaching 223 billion passenger-kilometres. Particularly significant were the drops in the second and the fourth quarter of 2020 (-74% and -54% compared with the same period of 2019).

This information comes from data on railway transport published by Eurostat today. The article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained articles on railway freight and passenger transport.


In 2020, the EU rail freight transport performance fell by 6% compared with 2019 (in tonne-kilometres), with the second quarter of 2020 being the most impacted (-15% compared with the same period of 2019). However, the last quarter of 2020 recorded a slight growth compared with the same quarter of the previous year (+6%).

All EU Member States reported substantial decreases in the number of passengers transported by rail in 2020. The largest decreases were recorded in Ireland (-64%) and Italy (-57%). Among the remaining EU Member States, seven fell by more than 40% over the same period. In nine EU Member States, a drop between 30% and 40% was recorded.

Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria registered the lowest decreases with -29%, -28% and -21%, respectively.

Rail freight transport was less impacted by COVID-19. Expressed in tonnes, five EU Member States and Norway recorded an increase in 2020 compared to the previous year. Ireland registered the highest growth (+30%), followed by Bulgaria (+19%).

In contrast, a high decrease was observed in Latvia (-42%), followed by Estonia (-26%), Luxembourg (-18%), Spain (-17%) and Romania (-16%). In absolute terms, Germany was the country with the highest decrease in rail freight transport, with a 20 million tonnes drop in 2020 compared to 2019. Latvia followed with a decrease of 17 million tonnes over the same period.



Since 2005

Recent Posts

Bank of America Study Finds 84% of Employers Now Say Offering Financial Wellness Tools Helps Increase Employee Retention

The FINANCIAL -- 97% of employers feel responsible for employee financial wellness, with 91% seeing…

22 hours ago

How Global South cities can work better: free course based on Oxford-led urban research

A new, free course ‘Shaping Urban Futures’, aimed at planners, policymakers and people with an…

22 hours ago

Discovery of new nanowire assembly process could enable more powerful computer chips

Researchers from Oxford University’s Department of Materials have developed a technique to precisely manipulate and…

22 hours ago

Face to face with ancient Egyptians

Realistic mummy portraits shed light on life, death in multicultural Roman era 2,000 years ago. Realistic…

23 hours ago

What makes us human? It’s all in the hips

New study shows how pelvis evolved for walking upright, allowing birth of offspring with larger…

23 hours ago

Genetic tests set to reduce burden of joint replacement surgery

A range of ground-breaking genetic tests could help predict whether joint replacements succeed or fail. These…

23 hours ago