Wednesday 11 January 2023

Traffic trends among UIC member companies in the first half of 2022

Provisional results

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1. Summary

Provisional data provided by several UIC rail operator members shows that there is a large contrast in traffic trends during the first half of 2022, depending on the region and whether it is regarding passenger or freight transport. Passenger traffic shows improvement when compared to 2021, but for many companies the passenger-kilometres (Figure 1) remain below levels recorded in the pre-COVID period (i.e. 2019), despite there being encouraging results for some companies in the second quarter of 2022. Freight traffic in Europe and the United States has remained more or less stable compared to 2021, but the tonne-kilometres generally remain below 2019 levels, while growth has been gradual and more sustained since 2020 for some Asian and African rail operators (Figure 2). Please note that not all railways took part in the survey. The overview of the railway market presented here is thus a partial one.

2. Passenger traffic trends

Despite a slowdown in passenger transport in December 2021 and January 2022 (Figure 3), the first half of 2022 showed recovery, and compared to the first half of 2021, 32 companies (out of 39) showed a significant increase in traffic volume, with examples being IR (India +110%), Via Rail (CA, +322%), DB AG (DE, +110%) or TCDD (TR, +198%). For ONCF (MA), SV SRBIJA VOZ (RS), TCDD (TR), EUSKOTREN (ES), SZ (SI), and PKP (PL), traffic volumes were higher than during the pre-COVID period (i.e. the first half of 2019). For other operators, May and June 2022 figures represent a return to nearly normal. However, conditions remained difficult for few companies, such as for CR (CN, -40%), Sydney Trains (AU, -12%), SNCC (CD, -20%) or HZ PP (HR, -40%).

3. Freight traffic trends

After freight transport was negatively affected during the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic, overall volumes of transported goods then increased to exceed pre-COVID levels in the first half 2022, principally due to a significant growth in tonne-kilometres recorded by rail operators in Asia and, to a lesser extent, in Africa. This trend records, for example, +14 % for IR (IN) in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021, +13% for KTZ (KZ), +8% for CR (CN) and +22% for DSVN (VN), and for African companies, +18 % for SETRAG (GA) and +13% for SNTF (DZ). However, this trend varied strongly depending on region, as while the pandemic did not impinge too much on freight traffic for these companies, most rail operators in the US and in Europe showed a weak recovery and the volume of transported goods still remained below those of the pre-COVID period. Some operators, TCDD (TR), SBB (CH) and BLS (CH), buck this trend as data showed that their freight traffic volumes were maintained over the entire period and demonstrated good results for the first half 2022.

For more information on this data, please read the monthly and quarterly reports on passenger, freight and train traffic, available online via the UIC web application for UIC statistics correspondents:

or on the Extranet:

Annual data is available from Railisa:


Many thanks to all of the correspondents who actively contributed to providing the data used for this brief overview from the UIC Statistics Platform.

For more general information, please contact the UIC Statistics Unit at

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01. Figure 1. Passenger-kilometres (millions) for 2019 (white bar), 2020 (light grey bar), 2021 (dark grey) and 2022 (black bar). The y axis is a logarithmic scale. Railway companies are grouped by region, with percentage values showing the average change between 2021 and 2022. Please note that not all railways took part in the survey. The overview of the railway market presented here is thus a partial one.
02. Figure 2. For freight traffic (tonne-kilometres in millions), with the key being the same as Figure 1. The y axis is also a logarithmic scale. Again, please note that some European railways did not take part in the survey. The overview of the European railway market presented here is thus a partial one. AAR data relates only to traffic carried by Class 1 companies in the United States.
03. Figure 3. The left-hand graph shows the monthly passenger traffic index for the January 2019 to June 2022 period. The base reference (100) for the index is January 2019. Data available for UIC railway members has been aggregated and is presented by region: “EU-27”, “Other Europe”, “Africa”, “N-America” plus China Railways (CR), Indian Railways (IR) and East Japan Railways (EJR). The list of railways included in the “EU-27”, “Other Europe”, “Africa” and “N-America” aggregates is shown in Figure 1. The right-hand graph shows the same data but for freight traffic. Aggregates of UIC railway members for which data is available are represented by region: “EU-27”, “Other Europe” and “Africa” (see Figure 2 for the list of railways), plus China Railways (CR), Indian Railways (IR), Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) and Class 1 companies from the Association of American Railroads in the US. EJR and AAR data was originally provided by quarter and has been adjusted to the month scale in both graphs. Data from Indian Railways has been calculated using monthly passengers/tonnes carried, multiplied by the mean distance covered by one passenger/tonne.