Every seventh train in the Czech Republic arrived late last year, according to statistics published by the news website iDnes.cz. Long-distance and express trains experienced the most delays, while local passenger trains (which make the highest number of stops) proved the most reliable.
According to the statistics for 2018, local trains (osobní vlaky in Czech) arrived with a five-minute or longer delay some 12 percent of the time. Compare this to long-distance trains (rychlíky), which were late three times out of every 10.
Express trains had the worst results of all, reaching their destination on time on only 40 percent of occasions. Two percent (1,288 connections in total) of them were an hour or more late.
There are a number of explanations for the latter fact, according to iDnes.cz. The simplest one is that long-haul trains travel greater distances and are therefore considerably more likely to encounter an emergency situation.
A second reason is that such vehicles often use overloaded key lines, which furthermore have been undergoing modernisation in recent years, Miroslav Vyka, the head of the Public Transport Union, told iDnes.cz.
The Railway Infrastructure Union said diversions stemming from construction work on tracks were responsible for just over one-fifth of all delays in 2018.
According to the Railway Infrastructure Union, transport companies were to blame for around 16 percent of all failures to meet the official timetable. Fifty-four percent of delays were down to bad weather or accidents at level crossings.
Slovakia can boast more punctual local trains, with 90 percent arriving on time in 2018. Long-haul trains were less impressive, making it to their destinations when they should on just under 60 percent of occasions.
Austria is the most impressive state in the region in this respect, with only four percent of all of its trains being late, iDnes.cz reported.
Some 93.5 percent of trains run by Germany’s Deutsche Bahn were on time in 2018. However, in that country short-distance trains are deemed not to be late if they arrive within six minutes of the time scheduled. For long-distance trains the figure is 16 minutes.
The Czech Republic has one of the densest rail networks in Europe. State company Czech Railways, which no longer enjoys a monopoly, now has about a tenth the number of employees it had in 1990.