Switzerland defends European rail record
The Swiss remain the most train-friendly nation in Europe, having made an average of 42 rail trips in 2005.
Worldwide the Swiss come second behind Japan but they are the global champions when it comes to distances travelled, according to a study released by the International Union of Railways.
The average Swiss made five more journeys in 2005 than in 2004, putting Switzerland far ahead of its nearest European competitors, the inhabitants of Luxembourg and Denmark, who caught the train 28 times a year.
At the other end of the spectrum, people living in the former Yugoslav republics of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia made only one rail trip in 2005, as did the inhabitants of Turkey, Greece and Albania. Bosnians didn't average even one journey.
According to the Swiss Public Transport Information Service, this enthusiasm for rail travel is down to good timetables as well as comfortable and modern trains and installations.
The figures recorded in 2005 bode well since more services and shorter travel times were introduced at the end of that year as part of a major upgrade of the Swiss Federal Railways timetable.
Only the Japanese do better than the Swiss, jumping on a train on average 68 times a year.
The Swiss are number one though when it comes to distances travelled – around 1,929 kilometres on average, up from 1,739 in 2004. The Japanese fall back into second place, followed by Belarus, France and Russia.
Albanians travelled the least distance by rail: 23 kilometres on average.
swissinfo with agencies
Average number of train journeys in Europe:
1. Switzerland (42)
2. Denmark and Luxembourg (28)
3. Austria (24)
4. Germany (22)
5. Netherlands (20)
The figures were supplied by members of the International Union of Railways. These are usually national or state-owned companies.
For Switzerland, the members are the Swiss Federal Railways, BLS, BLS Cargo and Cisalpino.
This means that smaller private companies are not included in the statistics, nor tram lines and cable car firms.
In compliance with the JTI standards
More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative
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