Zurich HB named best railway station in Europe for 2023

Zurich HB named best railway station in Europe for 2023

The latest Railway Station Index by the Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) has seen public transport in Switzerland come out on top once again. For 2023, Zurich Main Station (HB) was rated as the best in Europe thanks to its shops and good punctuality record, with Bern also placing on the podium.

Railway Station Index for 2023

To create the ranking, the CCC analysed the 50 largest railway stations in Europe, to see which offers the most convenience and benefits to passengers. Each of the railway stations was given a score based on a number of different factors, which are:

  • Operating hours of ticketing offices and whether tickets can be purchased via mobile phone
  • Diversity of public transport tickets (such as student, pensioner and group passes)
  • Average waiting time at the station
  • Percentage of trains that are delayed
  • Visibility of station information
  • Presence of elevators and escalators, and wheelchair and toilet accessibility
  • Number of shops, restaurants, takeaways and lounges
  • Connections to local and international public transport, and the number of rail companies to choose from
  • Access to free internet and ride-sharing or taxi services

Each station was given a score in each category, with their total score across all categories used to place them in the ranking. The maximum score possible was 123 points.

Zurich HB rated best station in Europe (once again!)

This year, Zurich HB maintained its title as the best railway station in Europe, increasing its score from 93 points in 2022 to 102 points in 2023. Vienna overtook a number of railway stations in Germany to place second with 94 points, while the main station in Berlin took third alongside Bern.

The CCC made the point that while Zurich is not the best-connected station on the list, it still has a number of international and night train services to choose from. What’s more, Züri HB earned top scores for the lack of train delays and the number of shops and takeaways on offer. This is perhaps unsurprising as ShopVille - the shopping area in the station - has 192 businesses and is one of the few places in the Swiss city where people can shop on Sundays.

German stations slump down ranking for 2023

The biggest movers on the list for 2023 were stations in Germany, as although 21 of the largest stations in Europe are in the federal republic, only Berlin and Frankfurt ranked in the top 10 - quite surprising considering last year five of the top 10 were German stations. What’s more, the six worst stations analysed were all German, namely Essen, Berlin Ostkreuz, Berlin Gesundbrunnen, Berlin Zoologischer Garten, München-Pasing, and Bremen.

The report explained that this phenomenon is twofold. First, Deutsche Bahn registered some of its worst delay statistics this year, with the report noting that between the start of the year and the end of July, 39 percent of trains in Bremen were at least five minutes late. 

Second are the nine and 49-euro ticket programmes launched by the German government. The CCC argued that both policies have failed in their vision to reduce the number of people driving and have instead led to the overloading of the already underfunded German public transport network. “The damage to smaller stations and local commuters has already been done. Far from a positive example, the subsidy has led to more congestion, longer waiting times, and mounting frustration from German consumers,” the report concluded.

Best and worst railway stations in Europe for 2023

In all, here are the 10 best railway stations in Europe in 2023:

  • 1. Zurich HB, Switzerland (102)
  • 2. Vienna HB, Austria (94)
  • =3. Berlin Hbf, Germany (90)
  • =3. Bern, Switzerland (90)
  • 5. Utrecht Centraal, the Netherlands (89,5)
  • 6. Frankfurt Hbf, Germany (87)
  • 7. Napoli Centrale, Italy (86)
  • 8. Amsterdam Centraal (84,5)
  • 9. Paris Gare du Lyon, France (82)
  • =10. Oslo Central Station, Norway (81)
  • =10. Vienna Meidling, Austria

In contrast, here are the 10 worst stations in Europe:

  • 1. Bremen Hbf, Germany (39)
  • 2. Munich-Passing, Germany (52)
  • =3. Berlin Zoologischer Garten, Germany (54)
  • =3. Berlin Gesundbrunnen, Germany (54)
  • =3. Berlin Ostkreuz, Germany (54)
  • 6. Essen Hbf, Germany (55)
  • =7. Birmingham New Street, United Kingdom (56)
  • =7. Paris Châtelet–Les Halles, France (56)
  • 9. Paris Haussmann–Saint-Lazare, France (57)
  • 10. Helsinki Central Station, Finland (57,5)

For more information, and to see how other stations did on the ranking, check out the official website.

Thumb image credit: i viewfinder /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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