Across the world countries look toward Europe’s railway systems with envy. But not all European railways are created equal; some are better than others. To rank the different railways across the country a website for buying train tickets named Loco2 hired researchers to do a survey. The resulting Great Train Comparison Report found that Switzerland’s rail systems came in a cut above the rest.
The report looked into sixteen different rail systems across Europe. To make sure that the comparisons were fair they focused on systems that allow riders to take high-speed rides that last for 400 km or longer. This cut out smaller systems or those that were limited to lower speeds.
They looked at Deutsche Bahn in Germany, Swiss Federal Railways in Switzerland, Virgin Trains in the UK, Renfe Operadora in Spain, Eurostar in the UK, Great Western Railway in the UK, Cross Country in the UK, and the multinational Thalys.
Each of the train operators was ranked in terms of 12 different categories. Each of these categories referred to a different type of traveler. They looked at how each operator served business people, families with children, food lovers, people with disabilities, those concerned with the environment, people who want peace and quiet, pet owners, cyclists, winter athletes, couples, and people in a hurry. For each of these categories, the report ranked the top three positions for easy comparison.
Switzerland came ahead by ranking at the top for traveling families with children, disabled riders, people who ride bicycles, and winter sports enthusiasts. In addition to taking the top spot in those categories, they also won the silver medal for providing service for foodies, environmentalists, and romantic couples.
Coming in second place behind Switzerland was Germany’s, Deutsche Bahn. They took first place for their services offered to backpackers, environmentalists, and those looking for peace and quiet on their ride. They also took second place in the family category and third place in the foodie category.
No train operator in the UK took as many top spots as the Swiss or German operators, but the UK made up for this deficit with their large variety of operators. Four different UK operators made the list, taking six positions overall.
No matter where you go in Europe there are quality railroads in operation. But if you want your best shot at a smooth ride, then it’s best to travel in Switzerland, Germany, or the UK.