Punctuality for passengers (with a 5 minute margin) on the main rail network was 91.6% in 2022 (2021: 94.4%). Punctuality for passengers (with a 15 minute margin) on the main rail network was 97.3% in 2022 (2021: 98.1%). Trains were less punctual than in 2021, due to a combination of circumstances. First and foremost, from May to August staff shortages resulted in higher train cancellation numbers. This means that passengers more often had to wait for the next train, with an adverse effect on train punctuality for 2022. After the summer we adapted the timetable to ensure we had enough staff to implement it, resulting in fewer train cancellations. We also shortened our trains, because longer trains require more staff. The timetable adjustments and shorter trains meant that trains became more crowded, resulting in longer stops at stations because when passenger numbers increase, it takes longer for them to get on and off the trains. Punctuality rates decreased as a result. This effect was strongest during off-peak hours as the relative increase in crowding levels was strongest off-peak. Nevertheless, punctuality for passengers was higher during off-peak hours than during peak hours.
Other factors with a negative impact on punctuality were train cancellations due to industrial action in August and September, and damage due to high winds in January, February and May. As a result of an incident involving a high-voltage cable in the province of Flevoland, no trains could be run on the section between Lelystad and Dronten from 2 September to 10 December. The replacement bus services that were offered were less punctual than the trains, due in part to fluctuations in traffic intensity.
Punctuality for passengers on the high-speed line
Realisation in 2022
Realisation in 2021
Minimum value for 2022
Punctuality for passengers (with a 5-minute margin) on the main rail network
Punctuality for passengers (with a 15-minute margin) on the main rail network
Punctuality for passengers (with a 5-minute margin) on HSL South
Punctuality for passengers (with a 5 minute margin) on the high-speed line registered 82.0% (2021: 89.2%). Punctuality levels on the high-speed line were high at the beginning of the year. However, in the second quarter stopping times at the stations increased due to higher passenger numbers. At the same time, international train traffic increased, resulting in railway capacity issues, and train services on the high-speed line were confronted with staff shortages. The ad hoc scale-down of our timetable led to a substantial number of unscheduled cancellations. In the course of the third quarter we gradually implemented an adjusted timetable for the longer term, which helped to reduce ad hoc cancellations. The scaled-down operations did however continue to cause higher levels of crowding at the platforms, resulting in longer stops and more delays than usual.
In the last few months of the year, punctuality was adversely impacted by a temporary speed restriction near the town of Rijpwetering as a result of infrastructure issues. The speed restriction meant that trains on this section of the high-speed line could only run at 40 km/h from 28 October, and 80 km/h from 7 November, compared with the regular train speed of 160 km/h (up to 300 km/h for international trains). Due to the impact of this temporary speed restriction on punctuality, performance on the high-speed line in 2022 was under the lower limit. We are in consultation on this issue with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and ProRail.
The speed restriction will remain in force in 2023 in connection with safety inspections carried out by ProRail on similar structures.