Rail transport in September 2020


In September 21.6 m passengers travelled by rail – 25% less than last year. The result for the first three quarters of 2020 is 33% lower than in the same period before the epidemic. In freight transport the result for September is 19.6 m tonnes – 0.2% less than in 2019.


In September 21.6 m passengers used rail transport services. Despite the steady growth of the number of passengers, the result for September is 25.1% lower than in September 2019. When compared to August 2020, the number of travellers increased by nearly 1.5 m (7%). The transport performance amounted to 1.2 bn pass-km, while the operational performance reached 13.9 m train-km. When compared to September 2019, these results were lower by 31.9% and 0.2% respectively. The results of the operational performance show that the values slowly reach the levels of 2019.

The end of summer holidays and the beginning of school year conform to the usual trends – a decrease in the number of passengers of long-distance trains and an increase in the number of commuters in regional and agglomeration trains. The lower number of passengers travelling on longer distances resulted in lower transport performance in September – as compared to August or July 2020.

- September ended with the best passenger transport results since the beginning of the pandemic in Poland. Statistics show that after summer holidays people returned to using rail transport when commuting to work or school. In September the return of passengers of regional and agglomeration rail transport companies was particularly visible – comments Ignacy Góra, the President of the Office of Rail Transport. - In long-distance transport every September means a decrease in the number of travellers. However, despite this trend, the number of passengers of PKP Intercity, excluding the holiday period, reached the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic – Ignacy Góra adds.

During three quarters of 2020 rail transport in Poland was affected by the pandemic. After this period the total number of passengers amounts to 164.9 m and is 33% lower when compared to 2019. The transport performance reaches 10.2 bn pass-km and the operational performance is at almost 117 m train-km which means that the decrease is 38.9% and 8.2% respectively. The average distance travelled by a passenger in 9-months period is 62 km, as compared to 67 km in 2019.

Detailed data on rail passenger transport can be found in the Passenger transport statistics section.


In September 2020 rail freight reached values closest to last year's level. The weight of transported goods in September was 19.6 m tonnes. The transport performance was nearly 4.7 bn tonne-km and the operational performance was 6.9 m train-km. When compared to September 2019, the weight carried was lower by 0.2%, but transport and operational performance were higher by 2.3% and 2.1% respectively. The average distance was 238 km and was by 2.4% higher than in September 2019.

- September ended with the best result in rail freight in this year. However, the total weight of goods carried since the beginning of this year is lower than in corresponding period of 2019. A decrease in cargo transport which depends on demand of construction and energy industries is particularly visible. It confirms that the rail operators in their traditional role of bulk carriers are hugely dependent on large infrastructure projects or demand of the energy sector – comments Ignacy Góra. - On the other hand, the rise of intermodal transport is visible in the market. It becomes necessary to stimulate the development of this segment as we need to shift the cargo in transit in Poland from road to rail. It is important to create new opportunities and solutions for rail transport - he adds.

The freight results for three quarters of 2020 are 162 m tonnes, 38 bn tonne-kim and 56 m train-km, which means a decrease – as compared to 2019 – by 8.8%, 10.1% and 9% respectively. The average distance in January to September 2020 was 234 km. The freight results for this period are better than in 2019, when the weight carried was 161.8 million tonnes, transport performance was 37 m tonne-km and operational performance was 54 m train-km.

Detailed data on rail freight can be found in the Freight statistics section.

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