Length of railway lines in use in the European Union 1990-2017

Between 1990 and 2017, the total length of railway networks in Europe declined. The peak was recorded in the beginning of the reporting period, with 237,671 kilometers. However, by 2017, this figure had fallen to 217,236.

High-speed rail defies trend

In contrast to the overall decline in railway length, the high-speed rail network saw a prominent extension. Between 1985 and 2018, the number of kilometers available grew fourteenfold, reaching 8,952 kilometers in 2018.
As of January 2019, Spain had the greatest length of high-speed rail networks in Europe. It was closely followed by France, with Germany coming in third.

Germany home to most extensive rail network

Of European countries, Germany recorded the most extensive rail web. As of 2017, Germany’s rail network amounted to nearly 39,219 kilometers. By comparison, Spain’s had a total length of 15,904 kilometers.

Total length of the railway lines in use in the European Union (EU-28) from 1990 to 2017

Length of rail network in kilometers
2017217,236
2016217,081
2015217,605
2014219,129
2013*215,298
2012*216,507
2011*216,964
2010216,232
2005215,110
2000220,583
1995229,435
1990237,671
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Source

Release date

2019

Region

Europe, EU

Survey time period

1990 to 2017

Supplementary notes

* Estimated value.

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