Train travel is once again becoming a popular means of travel. As people ger more climate conscious and as more and more routes become available, it is getting increasingly easy to choose travelling by train over plane, even airline CEOs reaching a point where they prefer taking the train over the plane whenever possible.
As with any kind of travelling however, some good planning is necessary and, similarly to airports, each train station has its own ups and downs. While choosing the airport you depart form is maybe not that easy, choosing a preferred train station might be a little easier. To help travellers out when planning their next journeys, consumer advocacy group, the Consumer Choice Center ranked Europe’s best train stations.
The group compiled a list of the 50 busiest train stations in Europe by passenger numbers. Then, analysing data like delays, array of available services and accessibility, ranked them in order of how convenient they are for travellers.
In 2023, Zurich HBF remained the most convenient station in Europe, while Berlin Central kept the third place, sharing it with Bern. Vienna’s Central Station, a newcomer among the top 50, climbed directly into second place, while Vienna Meidling, the other new addition, took joint-tenth with Oslo Central.
On the other hand, once in second place, Munich dropped to the 22nd position, while London’s St. Pancras International did not make it into the top 50 this year due to lower passenger numbers.
“Sadly, we tried but could not find sufficient information for Ukraine’s Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi. Nevertheless, the resilience of Ukrainian railways in the face of Russian aggression (85% of trains ran on time in 2022 while under bombardment) continues to inspire us”, Consumer Choice Center said. “We look forward to returning Kyiv and other entries to the dataset soon.”
Several factors were taken into account to compile the score of each station. If a station has a ticket booth with longer operating hours, it received more points. If there are multiple ticket options and multiple discount or package offers, then the station’s points piled up again.
If the average waiting time at the station was less than 5 minutes, then the maximum points were received, but if the waiting time was more than 10 minutes, then no points were awarded. Similarly, if less than 10% of the trains operating at the station were delayed, then the maximum points were awarded, but if delays were generally longer than 40 minutes, then no points were given in this category.
If there are both information screens and verbal announcements about schedules, then the station got more points again. The points also piled up if there are both escalators and elevators going to each platform. The more accessible a station is, for reaching the platforms or simply travelling around, as well as for using facilities like restrooms, the more points it got.
Having more than 50 shops or kiosks, more than 30 restaurants and at least one business lounge meant maximum points, while having less than 15 shops, less than 10 restaurants and no business lounges meant 0 points. Moreover, if there is free wi-fi available at the station, the station is covered by a ticket purchasing app or consumers can use apps like Uber, Bolt and Lyft to travel to and from the station, the venue received extra points.
Lastly, if the station is well connected to local public transport and, on the other side, to international destinations, offering direct connections to other countries, then it received extra points again.