Switzerland’s train punctuality dropped in 2021

Switzerland’s train punctuality dropped in 2021

In the year 2021, Switzerland’s trains were recorded as being 91,9 percent on time, down 0,7 percentage points on the previous year, with significant differences across cantons.

German-speaking Switzerland had the most trains on time

Trains operating in German-speaking regions were the most punctual at 94,7 percent, while trains in French-speaking regions were the least punctual, with around 88 percent running on time. Italian-speaking Switzerland saw its public transport rank in the middle, with approximately 90,7 percent of trains arriving at their destination punctually. 

One of the reasons that Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) give for delays in French-speaking Switzerland is the amount of repairs, upgrades and maintenance currently taking place on tracks across the region. Another possible factor for the regional variations relates to mass staff absences due to the spread of COVID-19, making many employees unable to work for weeks at a time. The company says that these delays should not continue into 2022. 

International trains cause knock-on delays when they reach Switzerland

International trains have also been found to cause many knock-on delays across the country, since trains that get held up abroad serve many of Switzerland’s "trunk routes" - major rail links across the country. Services on these routes have been found to be less punctual (90,7 percent) than on Switzerland’s regional routes (92,1 percent). 

Often, Swiss train companies have to cooperate with other transportation firms across the border in order to get international trains to run on schedule, such as SBB offering extra train services when German ICE trains are delayed. This level of coordination helps to keep Switzerland’s trains amongst the most punctual in Europe. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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