A comparison report of Europe’s high-speed and long-distance train services has been published by Loco2, the search and booking platform for train tickets in the UK and Europe.

Revealing the top three train operators across Europe for passengers belonging to 12 types of audiences, including foodies, business travellers, pet owners, backpackers, families with children and many more, the report – named The Great Train Comparison – is designed to give travellers the confidence to choose train travel over flying, so making the journey a more pleasurable and memorable part of the entire experience.

Overall, top of the league was Swiss national rail operator SBB, taking the first place in four of twelve categories: cyclists, winter sports fans, passengers with disabilities and families with kids. Close behind was German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) and ÖBB Austrian Railways, which both performed well across all audiences, with some great features for families and backpackers, such as experienced childminders on board, range of child-friendly games and entertainment, generous luggage space and easy access to power points.

For rail passengers who want to get from A to B in a hurry, French rail operator SNCF came first for pioneering high-speed rail in Europe. Spanish rail operator Renfe’s AVE trains were also commended for combining style with speed, while Eurostar was highly praised for having so positively transformed the relationship between London and major cities on the continent.

Other top contenders highlighted in the report were Czech Railways (ČD), praised for their full-service restaurant cars offering great-value meals. Trenitalia was named best operator for business travellers, as their Frecciarossa trains offer ample space to work on board and their business offering includes lounge access at major stations – travellers can also book a dedicated meeting space on the train. Business travellers in Italy are spoilt for choice, as the premium product offered by Italo also ranks as one of the finest in Europe.

Audience representatives

Loco2 enlisted 11 established, award-winning bloggers to contribute to the report. Each blogger commented on the rail operator survey results and shared their opinions and personal experiences of travelling by train, to represent their chosen type of passenger. Crystal Ski Holiday’s Ski-Buzz Blog is one of those enlisted.


Note to Editors


  • Loco2 invited 16 European train operators (see list below) to complete a 100-point survey based on three specific routes, which was broken down to cover a dozen different types of passenger and the various services that rail operators provide for each audience. Each operator was also given the opportunity to include best practise examples and list their best facilities available on board for passengers.
  • All train operators completed the survey, excluding České dráhy, ÖBB, and SBB. For these three operators, Loco2 conducted in-depth, thorough research about their services to ensure they were included in the report.
  • The survey was conducted between 20th March and 20th April 2018.
  • The report focuses on high-speed, long-distance daytime trains with journeys of at least 400km.
  • To download the full report, visit Loco2


  1. Business Travellers – Jack Peat: https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/
  2. Families with Kids – Jo Middleton: https://slummysinglemummy.com/
  3. Backpackers – James & Susan Feess: https://thesavvybackpacker.com/
  4. Foodies – Michelle Minnaar: https://www.greedygourmet.com/
  5. Passengers with Disabilities – Emma Muldoon: https://www.simplyemma.co.uk/
  6. Environmentalists – Georgina Wilson-Powell: https://pebblemag.com/
  7. Quiet Ambiance – Sarah Highfield: https://yogagise.com/
  8. People with Pets – Marc-André Runcie-Unger: https://katzenworld.co.uk/
  9. Cyclists – Andrew P. Sykes: https://cyclingeurope.org/
  10. Winter Sports – Mia Jones: http://www.ski-buzz.co.uk/
  11. Couples – Saskia Nelson: http://www.heysaturday.co/blog/


Rail Operators

  1. Alleo
  2. Deutsche Bahn (German Railways)
  3. České dráhy (Czech Railways)
  4. Cross Country
  5. Eurostar
  6. Great Western Railway
  7. Italo
  8. Lyria
  9. ÖBB (Austrian Railways)
  10. Renfe
  11. SBB (Swiss Railways)
  12. SNCF
  13. Thalys
  14. Trenitalia
  15. Virgin East Coast
  16. Virgin West Coast


This industry-first report has been created by Loco2 with invaluable input and additional research by Susanne Kries and Nicky Gardner of the Berlin-based consultancy hidden Europe, and authors of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. Loco2 invited Mark Smith, who runs the website The Man in Seat 61, to write the report foreword, and partnered with 11 established bloggers to gather their opinions on European train travel. Together, this Great Train Comparison team reviewed and compared the on-board services provided on trains run by 16 leading European rail companies.


About Loco2


  • What it is: Award-winning Loco2 is the only search and booking platform for domestic UK train travel that also covers continental Europe. Loco2 was the first booking platform to enable users to buy train tickets for domestic and international travel in and around the UK and Europe in a single transaction, and still is today. It launched in 2012.



  • Low CO2: Loco2 represents a new way of booking trains online, but it also means ‘low CO2’. By simplifying the booking process, Loco2 hopes to encourage more people to ditch the plane and opt for a lower-carbon journey by train.


  • Multiple currency booking: Although the market is now more mature, internationalisation remains a major challenge, and Loco2 gives customers the ability to book European rail tickets in the following currencies: pound sterling, euros and US dollars.


  • Multi-language booking platform: Since November 2017, users have been able to navigate the website and apps using a choice of English, Spanish, Italian and German languages.


  • Travel advice and inspiration: The Loco2 team’s passion for travel led them to create a wonderful collection of ’Discover Guides’ providing information, advice and inspiration on where and how to travel by train across Europe.


  • Where to book: Users can buy train tickets in just a few taps on com or via the apps that are available to download for free from the App Store and Play Store.


  • Around the clock support: Customers booking with Loco2 benefit from access to a team of dedicated ‘Train Geeks’ who have first-hand knowledge and experience – they cover all customer support, for every leg of the journey, meaning users can rest assured they’ll get the answer they need, when they need it.
  • Trust: Loco2 has a Trustpilot score of 9.3 based on 368 reviews.


  • Recognition: In 2017 Loco2 was awarded a bronze medal in the British Travel Awards ‘Best European Rail Booking Websites’ category.