European silver medalists!

More than punctuality

If you add up all the people that commute on a daily basis using the Danish railways, you get quite a large workforce. The DSB Group had 7285 employees alone in 2016, so there is definitely some manpower behind making the railways work. Some might say, that they don’t work well enough. There is always room for improvement, but how do the Danish railways stack up compared to the other European countries?

For the third time, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has published a report, ranking the respective railways of Europe. The 2017 publishment follows up on the reports from 2015 and 2012, and once again Denmark is ranked as having one of the best railways of Europe.

All over Europe, giant investments are being pumped into the railway industry, which sets big demands and requirements for the industry to deliver results. It seems fair that some quality is required, taking into consideration the investments summing up to more than 1000 billion Danish Kroner. It is quite simply going to bring the European railways into the next technological era!

Well, back to the report…

BCG has named their report ‘Railway Performance Index (RPI)’, and they measure performance on three primary parameters;

  • The intensity of use – how much are the railways used by passengers and for transportation of goods?
  • Quality of service – are the trains punctual, fast and is travel priced fairly?
  • Safety – do the railways meet and maintain high safety standards?


In each of these parameters lie further parameters, securing an in-depth analysis of the railways.

The three main parameters are weighted equally towards the final score. The performance of the railways is therefore analyzed more holistically than just limiting them to what us passengers see and experience every day.

A twisted image?

The overall opinion towards the Danish railway industry is not all roses and chocolate, which might be a result of negative press. A few of the talents from the industry touch upon this as well, @Nikolaj and @Frederik for example. They point to the media’s negative mentions of delays and poor service as a big constraint for the railways’ image.

BCG however, find that we don’t have much to sulk over. It’s given that anyone finds it mildly annoying waiting fifteen minutes in the winter cold for their delayed train, but in Denmark, we are nonetheless privileged to have the second-best railways of all of Europe. Yup, you read it. Second place! Our railway follows up on the success of our female national football team and brings home silver medals from the European Championships! It just hasn’t drawn as many headlines as delays. Unfortunately.

Based on the final scores, the countries are divided into three tiers; Tier 1, 2 and 3 (surprise). Tier 1 is the countries with scores of 6.0 and above. BCG points out that there have been no significant changes in the countries in the different tiers from 2012 to 2017.

Denmark advance one place from 2015. Our railways score especially high on safety, but are also a forerunner on quality of service compared with the other countries, although there is room for improvement. The Danish railway also has a quite high intensity of use.

A lot is happening though, which in part is a result of an investment of 60 billion Danish Kroner passed by the government. You can read more on this page about, for example, GreenSpeed which Philip works with developing, or Nikolaj who is working on the new high-tech signaling system in BaneDanmark. Those are just a few of the initiatives that will improve the railways for us passengers.

A round of applause

The huge investments are going to bring the Danish railway well and safe into the modern age and will improve the traveling experience immensely for the travelers.

Even more uplifting, BCG already places Denmark as one of the European countries with the most well-functioning railways relative to costs, as can be seen on BCG’s model beneath:

It seems like the many thousands of people who check in to work with the Danish railway every day are doing an incredible job when compared with our European friends.

It will be very exciting to see what the rail industry can get out of the big investment from the State. As soon as you look underneath the sensation-seeking headlines, it is hard not to notice some of the high-tech initiatives and projects that will better the railway for everyone who uses it. Maybe the industry’s image will even have a more positive light shine upon in the future? Maybe you’ll be part of the journey?


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