ProRail: 2022 was one of the worst years for train travel in the Netherlands
Figures from rail operator ProRail have revealed that 2022 was one of the worst years for train travel in the Netherlands in recent memory, as rail passengers faced frequent delays, cancellations, and strikes.
Figures show last year was a poor year for trains in the Netherlands
Anyone who makes frequent use of public transport in the Netherlands will have been unable to ignore the various disruptions to a number of services last year, but the latest data confirms that not only was 2022 a poor year for those travelling by train - it was one of the worst.
According to ProRail, some days in 2022 saw more than 10 percent of all scheduled services cancelled, largely as a result of poor weather, incidents on the track, technical issues or staff shortages. Unsurprisingly, large-scale strikes meant August and September were the worst months for cancellations, with a total of 11,2 and 8,8 percent of all services cancelled in each respective month.
As far as the punctuality of services was concerned, 2022 was also a fairly disappointing year: 8,4 percent of train services operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) ran with a delay of at least five minutes, and 2,7 percent with a delay of at least 15 minutes.
ProRail disappointed with overall performance in 2022
Agreements set out by ProRail and the Dutch government state that there may be a maximum of 520 “major disruptions” to rail services in the Netherlands every year. With a total of 450 such disruptions recorded in 2022, ProRail managed to stay below that upper limit - but the company is still disappointed by its overall performance.
“With a first look at the performance in 2022 and the causes of setbacks, I say: there is work to be done for the rail sector,” ProRail director John Voppen told De Telegraaf. “Let's invest in our people and resources to improve performance.”
What should travellers expect from Dutch rail services in 2023?
Now that a new year has begun, can passengers expect fewer disruptions to their travels over the coming 12 months? According to plans set out by ProRail, they shouldn’t hold their breath: maintenance work means that 40 routes will be out of service for a period of at least three weekdays in 2023.
This means that for at least three days, no trains will run on all or part of the route, meaning travellers will have to look for alternative modes of transportation or rely on rail replacement services. In 2022, this occurred on 34 routes.
These figures do not take disruptions over weekends into account: in 2022, around 650 weekend services were affected by maintenance work. A spokesperson for ProRail told RTL Nieuws they expect this figure to be even higher in 2023.
Thumb: Andre Muller via Shutterstock.com.