6 Key Differences between American and European Rail Systems


When many Americans travel to Europe, they are often surprised at how different the train system is and how much passengers rely on trains. Here are six key differences between European and American rail systems:

  1. The freight-to-passenger ratio is much higher in the United States. In Europe, passenger trains have priority over freight trains which results in a more reliable service. The USA is much larger and spaced out, and as a result, the network of tracks is often dedicated to moving goods rather than people.
  2. Train design is also quite different, with European trains often being faster, smoother, and more comfortable. This is due to the fact that European trains are designed for shorter distances between stops.
  3. Operating procedures also differ with Europeans using a block system where one train cannot enter a section of track until the preceding train has left it. This results in fewer delays. In the US, a dispatcher controls the train traffic, which can often lead to more delays.
  4. Infrastructure is also better in Europe, with most countries having high-speed rail networks. The USA has only recently begun to invest in high-speed rail.
  5. Government regulations are stricter in Europe when it comes to things like safety and the environment. This results in higher quality service for passengers.
  6. Finally, funding for rail is much higher in Europe. This is due to the fact that European governments see rail as a vital part of their transportation infrastructure. The USA has traditionally been more focused on building roads and highways.

These are just some of the key differences between American and European rail systems. Despite these differences, the USA is changing its focus on rail towards more passenger experiences and enhancing environmental efforts across the country. Who knows, maybe one-day American trains will be the envy of Europe!

For nearly half a century, Swartz Engineering has been at the forefront of industry safety. They are a family owned company specializing in power distribution for the electrical industry. They are the leading manufacturer of Portable Substations.