Most train delays caused by recklessness on tracks; Conductors fear for their safety

Most train delayes are not caused by technical faults, but by reckless behavior around the track, vandalism and bomb threats, according to ProRail figures in the possession of the Telegraaf. A recent NS study showed that a third of train conductors don't feel safe when working after 10:00 p.m.

ProRail retrieved its delay figures from Hotline Spoor in Utrecht, which acts as the national alarm center for the rialway. Every year there are about 37 thousand incidents on the tracks. Nearly a third of these result in delays. 53 percent of delays are caused by external elements, such as reckless behavior or bomb threats. Two years ago 47 percent of delays were results of external causes. 

According to the Hotline, mentally disturbed people are increasingly problems on the track. There were 220 suicides on the track last year and 50 bomb threats. The rest of the public's behavior also seems to be more and more reckless. The hotline specifically points out the increasing popolarity of taking selfies on train tracks.  

"It's high time that track walkers and crossing pirates be made more aware of the risks they take", Willem Loonen, head of the Hotline, said to the Telegraaf. "Trains are quieter, faster and more frequent. Before you know it, you're dead. Enforcement remains necessary to prevent accidents."

A recent study by rail company NS showed that 1 in 3 conductors don't feel safe on trains and stations after 10:00 p.m. A total of some 1,300 conductors were surveyed - 104 were presonally interviewed and 1,201 compmleted a survey online. The results showed that between 30 and 55 percent of conductors fear for their safety at work after 10:00 p.m. The conductors who completed the online survey are more negative about their sense of security than tose interviewed in person. A massive 55 percent said they fear for their safety in the online survey. In person 70 percent said they felt safe.

After pressure from the unions, NS decided to increase the number of conductors to two on "problem trains" - mainly trians traveling after 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This measure takes effect on June 12th. More security personnel will also be deployed. NS intends to conduct the same survey in September again to see if the measures made staff feel safer. 


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