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On time? Train delay data queries image of Swiss railways

Railway clock seen through passing train

Switzerland's trains are renowned for their punctuality, but do they deserve this reputation?  

(Christian Beutler / Keystone)

Trains operated by the state-owned Swiss national railway operator are less punctual than company statistics make believe.

A private websiteexternal link, launched in 2017 and compiled from data provided by the transport ministry, found that on average one in six intercity trains operated by the Federal Railways is late. That is, it arrives at its destination with a delay of at least three minutes.

The figure compares with a 89% customer punctuality rate for 2017 quoted by the Federal Railwaysexternal link on their website. The so-called ’customer-weighted connections punctuality’ achieved a level of more than 97%.

The national railway company management acknowledges the difference, according to a report in the Saturday edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper. A railway spokesman said different methods of evaluating the data could explain the gap.

He said the Federal Railways were planning to make its client information more transparent and more accurate.

Critics say the current statistics are not line with dataset from other railway companies across Europe, as the Swiss operator focuses on the number of passengers who may be affected by late arrivals. But it does not give details about the number of trains which ran late on a particular line.

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