Rail Coverage in EU Regions

Apr 13, 2018
Chart of Rail Length per Square Kilometer of Land in EU Regions

The chart above shows the kilometers of rail per square kilometer of land in EU regions.  Clearly there is a sharp divide between the Western and Eastern EU and the Northern and Southern EU, with the former having around a-tenth of a kilometer of rail per square kilometer of territory and the latter having less than half that.


  • The difference between the region with the greatest rail coverage, the Western EU, and the region with the least, the Northern EU, is 0.07 kilometers per square kilometer (0.12 miles per square mile).
  • The Western EU has 3.29 times the rail coverage that the Northern EU has.
  • Only the Southern EU contains states that do not have any rail coverage at all: Cyprus and Malta.


  • Rail length data is from 2016 except for Belgium (2009), Denmark (1998), Greece (2015), the Netherlands (2003), Austria (2007), and Poland (2015).
  • Area data is from 2007.
  • Road and area data come from different sources.
  • Numbers in the chart are rounded to the nearest hundredth.
  • Cyprus and Malta have no rail network.
  • The Western EU consists of Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
  • The Eastern EU consists of Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
  • The Southern EU consists of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta.
  • The Northern EU consists of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.


It is interesting to see that the Southern EU which is far more densely populated than the Northern EU have a similar railway coverage to the Northern EU.  This could be one factor why the Southern EU has the highest vehicle ownership rate.

The number of kilometers of railway per square kilometer of land for the European Union as a whole is 0.07 (0.12 miles per square mile) which ranks it just below the Eastern EU and just above the Southern EU.


Eurostat.  2018.  "Eurostat - Data Explorer: Railway Transport - Length of Tracks."  Accessed March 20, 2018.  http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do.

United Nations.  2007.  "United Nations Statistics Division - Environment Statistics."  Accessed January 23, 2018.  https://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/totalarea.htm.

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