A new report suggests that the British rail system is more expensive and poorer value for money than the networks in other European countries. The study of European rail services marked Britain’s effort at the bottom of the table when it came to comfort, efficiency and fares.

When the UK’s trains were compared to those operating in Italy, Spain, Germany and France, they were found to be more expensive, more inefficient, slower, less comfortable and less affordable. The only category British trains managed to do well in was frequency of services. The report has been compiled by Just Economics.

Calculations by the think tank suggest that the poor performance of Britain’s trains is costing both passengers and the economy. A faster, more comfortable and more affordable railway could actually generate social value of £9.2 billion annually. This adds up to £324 billion by the middle of the century.

The environmental, economic and social benefits of moving from road to rail could create £158.8 billion in terms of reduced emissions, accidents and congestion by 2050, according to the publishers of the study.

The report has been compiled ahead of a response by the government to the McNulty review concerning the future of the railways. Bob Crow of the RMT union said that the research was another illustration of how privatisation had failed the railways and the country’s passengers.