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Rail Usage by Country 2024

Railroads changed the world and jump-started development in countless countries. And even in the age of air travel, rail usage is still an important part of the transportation picture for many nations.

India is the globe's overwhelming rail usage leader, with over 8 billion passenger trips per year making up more than a trillion kilometers traveled. Japan is a relatively distant second at roughly 6.6 billion passenger trips covering a far smaller 150 billion kilometers. China ranks third in total passenger trips with just under 3 billion but sees trips making up nearly 950 billion kilometers, making it second most by that metric. All three nations have global reputations for the quality of their systems and their strong integration into domestic travel. Germany takes fourth place with roughly 1.2 billion passenger trips (over 46 billion kilometers), followed by France in fifth with just under 900 billion passenger trips and 75 billion kilometers traveled. Interestingly, the geographically far larger Russia transports a comparable number of passengers to France over a similar distance. Countries with the top rail usage by passengers and distance are overwhelmingly located in Asia and Europe, with exceptions like Egypt (500 million passengers) and Brazil (867 million passengers transported more than 16 billion kilometers.)

Saudi Arabia sees the lowest passenger rail usage, with around 300,000 passengers traveling 135 million kilometers. Cameroon only transports 600,000 passengers over 225 million kilometers. Somewhat unexpectedly, Canada is the third lowest in the world, with 365 million kilometers traveled by just over 1 million passengers. The United States sees just 10 million passengers annually but transports them over a relatively large 3.6 billion passenger kilometers. The bottom ten rail usage nations are more geographically and financially diverse, spanning multiple continents and income levels.

It's also vital to note some countries may have no rail usage at all, primarily due to their small size or remote status, like islands.

Download Table Data

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Country
Total Passengers (millions)
Passenger Kilometers Transported (millions)
India8,0861,050,738
Japan6,610149,711
China2,993946,499
Germany1,20346,169
France88075,058
Russia87278,135
Brazil86816,486
Italy86534,169
Egypt500
Spain40416,821
Switzerland38213,648
Australia2353,415
Taiwan19814,599
Austria1948,093
Belgium1867,496
South Africa1473,502
Turkey1368,544
Czech Republic1246,478
Denmark1183,771
Portugal992,527
South Korea8513,803
Hungary813,607
Ukraine6610,674
Norway643,096
Belarus603,741
Finland552,903
Romania473,892
Slovakia461,966
Thailand346,020
Algeria291,052
Tunisia28633
United Kingdom258,051
Israel241,252
Chile24627
Philippines22384
Morocco212,409
Ireland18835
Bulgaria171,205
Kazakhstan1613,551
Greece16
Luxembourg15269
Croatia14540
Slovenia12542
Iran115,170
United States103,593
Malaysia7412
Uzbekistan61,795
Lithuania4329
Azerbaijan3104
Serbia3157
Mongolia2580
Vietnam2600
Canada1365
Georgia1247
Cameroon1225
Bosnia and Herzegovina143
Montenegro137
Tajikistan122
Saudi Arabia135
Armenia24
North Macedonia25
Gabon118
Zimbabwe17
Kyrgyzstan7
DR Congo7
Netherlands8,977
Sweden3,512
showing: 67 rows

Which country uses railways the most?

India uses railways the most with 8 billion people riding its rails and 1 trillion passenger kilometers carried across the nation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources