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Belgian rail punctuality fell below 90% last year

08:52 09/01/2023

The punctuality of trains in Belgium worsened last year, falling below the 90% mark for the first time since November 2018, new figures reveal.

To be considered "on time", a train must arrive at its destination no more than six minutes behind schedule.

Last year, 89.2% of scheduled train services in Belgium achieved that target - which means one in 10 trains were late, according to data from rail infrastructure manager Infrabel.

February and December saw the worst delays. In February, the Belgian rail network was particularly affected by Storm Eunice and 4.5% of all trains were cancelled.

On a single day, 18 February, the SNCB reported accumulated delays to train services of more than 400 hours.

According to Infrabel's figures, one in five delays to rail services can be blamed on itself - for example, over-running engineering work, track or signalling problems. One in three delays is the fault of the SNCB - such as staff shortages or breakdowns - and another 40% of delays are due to third parties, such as trespassers, vehicles blocking level crossings or cable theft.

Throughout 2022, more than 38,000 rail services were cancelled - a figure that matches the previous record set in 2016. Staff shortages and absence at the SNCB were a major contributing factor.

Infrabel has warned that delays could worsen, as the Belgian rail network is suffering from a five-year backlog of maintenance work due to various cost-cutting rounds.

Written by The Bulletin