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IRG-Rail has analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on the European rail market in 2020

IRG-Rail has analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on the European rail market in 2020
photo: Archives/Railway
13 / 08 / 2021

In line with their market monitoring role, the regulatory bodies of IRG-Rail conducted a focused analysis to examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the European rail sector in 2020.

The pandemic and its aftermath generally led to declines in rail transport demand in 2020, some of which were severe. For example, the decline in annual passenger-kilometers averaged 48 percent in Europe, with the second and fourth quarters showing particularly large declines. With minus seven percent in total net ton-kilometers, the balance of rail freight transport was comparatively less dramatic, and in the fourth quarter, it even grew again slightly compared to the same quarter in 2019. There were also declines on the supply side, with eight percent fewer passenger train trips compared to six percent fewer freight train trips. In contrast, as a result of the decrease in rail supply, network utilization eased and punctuality increased in all quarters of 2020 for both passenger and freight traffic.

‘‘The market situation presented in the IRG-Rail report indicates that in 2020 all European countries were affected by declines in rail transport. From today's perspective, we know that rebuilding the market to the state before 2020 will be a long-term process - comments Dr. Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport.  ‘‘2020 is over, but the epidemic is still ongoing and the railways must strive for the return of passengers and ensure a smooth flow of goods‘‘  adds Ignacy Góra.

The IRG-Rail report takes into account data from 26 countries participating in the study.

The report and the figures it presents allow a comparison of the various relief measures taken across Europe in response to the consequences of Covid-19 in the rail sector. In this way, IRG-Rail provides decision-makers with an important tool, as the report may serve as a basis for assessing the effectiveness of these measures.

The full text of the report is here: