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Swiss are Europe’s train champions

The data were gathered by the International Union of Railways (UIC), and include the Swiss Federal Railways as well as rail companies BLS and BLS Cargo. Keystone

Last year, the Swiss took the train an average of 59 times per person, travelling 2,277 total kilometres (1,415 miles), compared with just three trips and 644 km for the average Swede, who travelled by train less than other Europeans according to a recent study.

This content was published on August 16, 2016 - 16:40
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The 2015 figures were published on Tuesday in the Swiss Information Service for Public Transport (LITRA)’s annual report on the frequency of rail use.

The statistics showed that Switzerland leads Europe both in terms of frequency of train journeys and distance travelled, while Sweden came in at the other end of the scale.

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Train punctuality is as synonymous with Switzerland as watches and chocolate, so the reliability and ease of catching a tight connection could well explain, at least in part, why the Swiss make so much use of their railways.

Radio SwedenExternal link has reported that Swedish travellers are often forced to choose alternative forms of transportation due to train delays in their country, which could be why Swedes average just three train trips per year.

Swiss trains are also closely coordinated with the PostBusExternal link network, which runs frequently from Swiss train stations to more rural parts of the country, making it easier to combine different types of public transportation.

The fact that major Swiss towns and cities tend to be relatively close together, given the nation’s small size compared to Sweden, could mean the Swiss find it easier to travel shorter distances more frequently by train.

According to LITRA’s report, 2,277 km over 59 train trips makes an average of 39km per trip for the Swiss, while 644km over three trips makes an average of 215km per trip for Swedes.

From an international perspective, only Japanese travellers rode the train more than the Swiss, with an average of 72 trips per person.

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