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Where in Switzerland are the trains the least punctual?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Where in Switzerland are the trains the least punctual?
Trains in some parts of Switzerland are not as punctual as in others. Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Switzerland’s national railways (SBB) pride themselves on their punctuality. But are all their trains always on time?

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The Swiss like to think that their trains are running as smoothly as their famous watches.

However, it turns out that not all the trains crisscrossing Switzerland’s wide and dense railway network always arrive on time.

The good news is that overall in 2023, 92.5 percent of Swiss trains arrived on time — which makes them among the most punctual in Europe.

The bad news, however, is that punctuality is not evenly spread  throughout the country.

Regional disparities

A new SBB report indicates that there are significant differences in how punctual (or not) the trains are in various regions. 

While they have the best on-time arrival record (94.3 percent) in the German speaking part, this is not the case in the French and Italian speaking areas of the country.

In the western part of the country — that is, the French-language region — punctuality rate is a much lower 89.2 percent.

The SBB attributes this sluggishness to numerous construction sites on the rail lines, which have forced the company to reduce the number of trains in the region.

READ ALSO: How cuts to train services in French-speaking Switzerland will hit travellers

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What is the situation in Ticino?

In the Italian part of Switzerland, the punctuality rate is 90.4 percent.

According to the SBB, there are two reasons for that.

One, is the ongoing repair work in the Gotthard tunnel, where rail traffic has been disrupted  since August 2023, when a train travelling from Italy to Germany came off the track. 

The second reason, the SBB said, is that “cross-border trains [from Italy] are among the least punctual.”

Attributing delays in Switzerland to foreign trains is a familiar tune: analysis of late arrivals and departures has shown that eight out of the 10 most frequently delayed trains in Switzerland begin their routes in German cities

In first place among the latecomers is the Deutsche Bahn service which departs from Karlsruhe and stops in Basel. It leaves Karlsruhe at 2:39 pm and is scheduled to arrive at Basel’s Badischer Bahnhof at 5:22 pm. However, in almost 85 percent of the cases, it was more than 11 minutes late.

READ ALSO : German trains 'responsible for Switzerland's worst delays' 

This link shows which trains are late and by how much.

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