Train punctuality in Belgium down compared to 2020

Train punctuality in Belgium down compared to 2020
Credit: Belga

Passenger trains in Belgium were slightly less punctual in 2021 than in the previous year, the latest figures from rail network manager Infrabel showed.

An average of 92.6% of national railway company SNCB’s trains were on time or no more than six minutes late – down from 93.6% in 2020. However, significantly more trains were cancelled, according to De Standaard, which obtained the figures.

In 2021, 34,266 trains were either completely scrapped or partially cancelled – over 10,000 more than in 2020 (23,158) and an increase from 2019 (29,679).

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This was partly due to the cancellations in the wake of July’s deadly floods, which had a significant impact on services. At one point, 25 lines in Wallonia were damaged, some taking months to repair.

Many services were also cancelled towards the end of the year, as up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels were temporarily cancelled starting from November and another 100 per day in December. This was largely down to many staff testing positive or in quarantine following a high-risk contact, resulting in staff shortages.

On Wednesday, SNCB announced that trains across Belgium are expected to run as usual from 10 January.

Comparing punctuality

Domestic trains running on time in Belgium reached a two-year low of 89.6% in October 2021, which marked the first time since November 2019 that punctuality fell below 90%. This is typically a more difficult month for rail traffic.

The company stressed the difficult circumstances in 2021 and highlighted the adjusted timetable that was put in place in 2020 with fewer trains. This makes it hard to compare the two years.

Figures have actually improved when compared to 2019, the last comparable year. Then, only 90.4% of trains were on time or slightly delayed.

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