The least punctual train in Switzerland is the Eurocity 56 which should – in theory – steam out of the city in Brig in the canton of Valais at 20.20 and arrive in Basel at 22.32 after its journey from one end of the country to the other.
But the train is behind schedule eight time out of ten and arrives in Basel an average of 16 minutes and 48 seconds late, data analysis carried out by Swiss news site 20 Minuten shows.
Also high on the list of offenders is the 21.16 service from Brig to Geneva, which is late 76.9 percent of the time, making it the fifth least punctual train in Switzerland.
In terms of connections between Switzerland's larger cities, the figures are decidedly lower. The IC1 from Geneva to St Gallen via Berne and Zurich is only late 11.2 percent of the time while the IC2 between Zurich and Lugano is late just 8.1 percent of the time.
Similar figures can be see for the Geneva–Lucerne and Zurich-Lucerne connections.
And to put those figures in clearer perspective, lateness here means an arrival time just three or more minutes behind schedule.
The international headache
So why are the trains from Brig to Basel and Brig to Geneva so much later? The key factor is that the two services originate in Italy – the first in Milan and the latter in Venice.
The 20 Minuten analysis shows international connections are more prone to lateness and that this problem is more acute for Italian services.
The most punctual train in Switzerland: the journey lasts just six minutes.
“The Italians have great high-speed trains and connections between cities but they are not interested in anything that happens north of Milan,” Edwin Dutler of the Swiss public transport users’ association Pro Bahn told the news portal.
He called on the Swiss government to invest in the rail network in the north of Italy, noting that a similar approach had worked with the Zurich–Munich service.
The Swiss national railways firm SBB said it was working closely with Italian authorities to improve the situation and that it offered other train options when international connections were late.
By the way, the most punctual train in Switzerland is the rack railway from Rheineck in the canton of St Gallen and Walzenhausen in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden – a 1.9-kilomtetre trip that takes just six minutes.
Only one train out of 10,000 trips on the route was late – by a full nine minutes.