Train punctuality reaches lowest level in five years

Train punctuality in Belgium reached a five-year low in 2023, according to official statistics published on Friday by railway infrastructure manager Infrabel.

The punctuality rate for 2023 as a whole was 87.5 per cent, down from 89.2 per cent the previous year. More than one in 10 trains was at least six minutes late.

The overall punctuality rate doesn't take into account cancelled trains, which reached a record 46,086 in 2023. Taking these cancellations into account, the punctuality rate drops further to 84.6 per cent, compared to 86.4 per cent in 2022. This means that around one in seven trains was at least six minutes late or cancelled last year.

"This is not what passengers deserve"

According to Infrabel, 39.9 per cent of the delays were attributed to third parties, 39.1 per cent to rail operator SCNB, 17.3 per cent to Infrabel and 3.5 per cent to other operators. 

Incidents affecting punctuality included strikes, people trespassing on the tracks and rolling stock breakdowns. A bomb scare at Antwerp Central station last October also caused 2,833 minutes of delay and led to the cancellation of 226 trains.

Both Infrabel and SNCB said the punctuality of the trains was unsatisfactory. "This is not what passengers deserve," they said, adding that improving punctuality would be their top priority in 2024.



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