CER: European railways suffered 26 billion loss due to Covid

AMERSFOORT - Reizigers op station Amersfoort Centraal. Sander Koning / ANP / Hollandse Hoogte

Passenger train services in Europe lost 24 billion worth of revenues in 2020, while freight services lost 2 billion. This is shown by data collected by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), who has been monitoring the impact of the pandemic on revenue in close collaboration with its members.

The revenue numbers of European railways for 2020 collected by CER reveal the alarming financial impact of Covid-19 on railways. “Keeping European mobility operational during the Covid-19 pandemic has been vital”, says the representing body of European Railways CER accompanying the turnover numbers for 2020. “Despite heavy losses in revenue, railways continue to do their utmost to keep essential freight and passenger services running, while protecting their customers and staff.”

Data collected by CER

Passenger services were more affected than freight, with a 42 percent decrease of revenues in 2020 compared to 2019. For rail freight, this was a smaller difference with a 12 percent decrease, but it is clear that the pandemic is taking its toll across the board.


“The Covid-19 crisis is impacting heavily on railways, says CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola. “However, the rail sector is showing resilience and capacity to help fight the pandemic and assist society on the road to recovery. Getting Europe’s economy back on track while continuing to bring down global emissions is a pressing dual challenge. The European Year of Rail is a timely recognition of the role railways can and should play on these fronts.”

Passenger volumes

In all of Europe, the amount of passengers in rail drastically decreased in 2020. Data by Eurostat shows a decrease of up to 92 percent in passenger volumes in the second quartile of last year. It differs widely per country, also due to the fact that the different waves of the coronavirus occurred in different periods, and the measures and lockdown per country vary. The rail passenger numbers for the second quartile are therefore not representative of the whole year 2020 for each country.

Below the decrease of passenger volumes in the second quartile of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 is shown in an infographic:

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor RailTech.com

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