German trains 'responsible for Switzerland's worst delays'

The Local Germany
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German trains 'responsible for Switzerland's worst delays'
A Deutsche Bahn train arrives at Interlaken Ost station, Bern in Switzerland in 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/KEYSTONE | Peter Schneider

The tardiness of Germany's trains has been eroding the country's reputation for punctuality for some time. But in 2022, delays on German trains even had a knock-on effect across the border in Switzerland.


Switzerland prides itself on the fact that its railroads run like clockwork and the latest figures from 2022 show that the punctuality rate of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is around 92 percent.

But evaluation of the 2022 timetable year by Swiss publisher CH Media and reported on by Blick, however, has shown that the not-quite-perfect figure is not the fault of the Swiss rail operator, as eight 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 2:39pm and is scheduled to arrive at Basel’s Badischer Bahnhof at 5:22pm. However, in almost 85 percent of the cases, it was more than 11 minutes late.

READ ALSO: 'A disaster': How did train travel in Germany get so bad?


The reason for the frequent delays, according to the train companies, is the Rhine Valley railroad. The line between Karlsruhe and Basel is one of the busiest routes and it's difficult to make up time for the delays elsewhere along the route.

The Eurocity connection run by SBB from Munich either to St. Margarethen in canton St. Gallen or to Zurich (via Austria) was second worse in the top ten list of delayed services for 2022. It arrived 12 minutes late more than 84 times out of 100, and 20 minutes late 75 percent of time.

SBB spokeswoman Sabrina Schellenberg said the of the delays the German side: "The infrastructure in Germany with a long single-track route and train crossings in the Allgäu region makes operations very demanding." For that reason, there's not much SBB can do about it, she said.

'Punctuality must be improved'

A spokesperson from Germany's Deutsche Bahn told the Local that the punctuality figures for long-distance services "are currently disappointing and do not meet our standards of reliability and quality for our customers".

"DB and SBB decided on measures in this regard in the summer to minimise the negative impact of delayed trains from Germany on passengers in Switzerland, and to achieve a short-term improvement in the situation".

The spokesperson added: "We are aware that we have to improve significantly in terms of punctuality. Sustainable improvements can only be achieved by consistently expanding the infrastructure into a high-performance network. We are resolutely tackling this together with the federal government and the industry."

Meanwhile, another line on Switzerland's list of least punctual trains is Rhaetian Railway’s (RhB) PE955 service, which runs from Chur in Graubünden to Tirano in Italy. It was reported to be late 83.5 percent of the time.

REVEALED: The train services in Switzerland most prone to delays


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