With a large number of railway development projects in Europe and worldwide, which once completed will be serving rail passengers of the future, this paper aims to take a step back and evaluate current railway systems performance. The objectives are to compare statistical data on various parameters of the railway system in a number of selected European countries and draw conclusions on the level of their performance when compared to the European average. Analyses of publically available statistical data, extracted from the Eurostat service at a European level will allow for a comparison of various indicators which influence the performance of the railway systems from an infrastructure and operational perspectives. The analyses will also allow identifying key performance indicators for the accurate assessment of the rail systems. The paper will highlight case studies for various parameters which are important to stakeholders of the railways, including infrastructure managers, rail operators, policy makers and the end users. This knowledge will be to the benefit of today’s railway industry as well as the rail systems of the future, as it will show trends drew upon existing data which might continue in the future.