Trains and the lack of being on time

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In Belgium, if you want to get somewhere on time – don’t take the train.

For the third year counting, the trains have been even less on time. According to the NMBS/SNCB, 89.3% of all trains arrives on time (this is 1.5% less then last year). This is a very wrong way of calculating, since this doesn’t take into account:

  • delays up to 5 minutes
  • cancelled trains
  • missed connections

If you take all that into account, only 47% of all the trains in 2007 was on time!


Out of personal experience, I can say that this the 47% is way more accurate – in the 1.5 months I’ve been taking the train, not half of them were on time. Usually you either depart too late and arrive later, depart on time and arrive late, miss connections, suddely stand still in the middle of nowhere with no reason given. On average I’ve been 10-15 minutes late getting somewhere. The top is 45 minutes, thanks to a missed connection (because of the first train being too late).

And yet they keep on saying that the train is the best medium to get somewhere… sure, if you don’t care when you get there.