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Among its other roles, Infrabel is responsible for recording and listing any delays on the network. This information is used to publish punctuality statistics every quarter.
How are train delays measured?
Thanks to 93 devices placed on the main network tracks, Infrabel is immediately able to detect whether or not a train is running late.
Infrabel coordinates and closely supervises all train traffic via its Traffic Control (which fulfills the role of a control tower) and its signal boxes placed around the network: it gives trains the authorisation to leave the station, it controls signals and points on its route, etc.
What does the overall punctuality rate mean?
The punctuality rate on the network is calculated according to the percentage of trains with a delay of less than 6 minutes – this is an international standard.
Since 2008, this overall punctuality rate has been assessed in two ways:
- Firstly, it takes account of the number of passengers on trains: a delay on a train with a lot of passengers during peak time carries more weight than a quieter train during off-peak times, for example.
- The other way of assessing delays is to not only take account of a train’s punctuality on arrival, but also during its entire journey. Thus, a delay en route is taken into account, even if the train makes up for lost time and arrives on time at the final station.
What statistics are drawn up?
Statistics determine the reason for each delay and who is responsible: Infrabel, a rail operator or third parties.
Responsibility for delays is determined by Infrabel’s Network Directorate. If the incriminated entity does not agree, it refers to a new Infrabel service created for arbitrage and punctuality. Since September 2010, this neutral service has been devoted to controlling, validating and arbitrating in delays attributed and to monitoring, analysing and reporting on punctuality.
Infrabel also lists separately all the trains which have been cancelled (meaning that they do not depart or were limited to only part of their journey) and the reason for their cancellation.
Punctuality with or without neutralisation?
The punctuality rate “with neutralisation” is not intended to reflect a passenger’s perception, but is a working tool which enables Infrabel and operators to draw up their analysis. In order to obtain an overall view of punctuality, whatever the reasons for delays, it is best to consult the “without neutralisation” figure.
As a public company, Infrabel concludes a management contract with the Federal State, which outlines its obligations.
According to this contract, Infrabel must provide, alongside the general punctuality rate, a punctuality rate which does not take account of delays resulting from external factors and major investment work (RER, etc.). These delays, which are beyond the powers of Infrabel and rail operators, are “neutralised” because these companies are unable to control them in the frame of the missions entrusted to them.