More late, canceled trains at 378 Dutch train stations
The past few months were extra challenging for train passengers in the Netherlands. The number of late or canceled trains increased at 378 of the nearly 400 train stations in the country compared to pre-pandemic 2019. Breda station scored the worst, with thousands of trains arriving late or not at all, RTL Nieuws reports based on an analysis of data by Rijden de Treinen.
Of the over 53,000 trains scheduled to arrive at Breda station in the past six months, 4,689 were more than 5 minutes late (8.8 percent), and 4,288 did not show up at all (8 percent).
Second place for the worst punctuality went to Amsterdam Amstel with 83.7 percent of trains arriving on time, and third place went to Roermond station with 84.8 percent on-time arrivals. The Friesland station Donryp had the best punctuality rate at 98.1 percent, followed by Franeker and Deinum, both at 98 percent.
Nationally, 91.2 percent of trains arrived on time between February and August 2022, down from 95.1 percent in the same period in 2019. Only 15 stations had trains arrive on time more often than in 2019.
NS uses different figures but acknowledges that passengers are delayed more often. The share of travelers who are delayed for up to 15 minutes fell below the target of 97.4 percent in the past three months.
The decreased punctuality is mainly due to more canceled trains, according to RTL. Trains were canceled due to malfunctions to equipment like the trains themselves or the infrastructure like signal and switch failures. But many trains also got canceled due to staff shortages.
Staff shortages have forced NS to adjust its timetables multiple times this year. The Dutch rail company is again running fewer trains from today. For travelers, this means less chance of a seat or arriving on time. “It will be stressful, but we must make these adjustments to give our colleagues more breathing space. They’ve been run ragged in recent months,” an NS spokesperson said to the broadcaster.
Travelers’ organization Rover expects a problematic September for train travelers but understands why NS has to cut its timetable. “A reliable timetable is important, and nowadays, NS falls short of that. And that is precisely why they are now scaling down: it is better to have fewer trains that run than more trains with 1 in 5 getting canceled.”