The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) placed Switzerland at the top of their 2017 European Railway Performance Index (RPI), published for the third time. This puts the country before Denmark (6.8), Finland (6.6), Germany and Austria (6.1) or Sweden and France (6.0) – all still classified as tier 1. In tier 2 rank Great Britain (5.3), The Netherlands (5.3), Spain (5.0), Belgium (4.6) and Italy (4.5). The lowest points received Romania and Bulgaria (1.9).
Because of the punctuality and reliability of their public transport systems, the Swiss are the most frequent rail travelers in all of Europe. With a total rating of 7.2, Switzerland has “excellent intensity of use, notably driven by passenger traffic” as well as good quality of service and a very good safety. Every day, some 10,000 trains run on the 3,000-kilometer (1,865-mile) rail network operated by SBB (Swiss Federal Railways). In addition to SBB, there are many private railway companies in Switzerland that operate on tracks covering more than 2,000 kilometers (almost 1,250 miles). Although the Swiss rail network has the highest capacity utilization in Europe, the trains are very punctual.
Smaller railway systems perform better
The ratings of the 2017 RPI are generally consistent with the results of the previous studies conducted in 2012 and 2015. Switzerland has been ranked number one since 2012. Countries with the smallest railway systems (i.e. fewer than 6,000 kilometers), e.g. Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, have all seen a slight increase in their ratings. A higher punctuality, high-speed rail percentage and cost per kilometer contributed to improved ratings for quality of service, while less accidents and fatalities helped to improve ratings in the safety category.