Punctuality in 2015
Infrabel works to improve the punctuality of rail traffic year on year. However, the Belgian rail network finds itself under pressure from busy traffic, so we are facing a major challenge! Following some disappointing results, over the last few years SNCB and Infrabel have joined forces to develop a multidisciplinary action plan. The 2015 results clearly show that these efforts are bearing fruit.
Overall improvement in punctuality in 2015
In 2015, overall rail traffic punctuality increased by 2.7%. The number of delays attributable to Infrabel also fell sharply compared with 2014: from 25.3% in 2014 to 20.9% in 2015. The launch of the new schedule led to a more robust timetable so that minor incidents can be absorbed more easily with no immediate impact on punctuality. Infrabel also works hard to improve intrinsic performance. As part of this, the monitoring of infrastructure components is systematically optimised and automated. This leads to more efficient management of the infrastructure.
The close partnership between SNCB and Infrabel at national (Railway Operations Center) and regional level (signal boxes) leads to smoother processing of rail traffic in real time.
Spectacular fall in cable thefts
Between 2009 and 2012, there was a real explosion in the number of cable thefts on the Belgian rail network. In response, Infrabel and SNCB launched a national plan to combat cable theft and reduce the impact of this type of criminal behaviour on rail traffic. Clearly, the various measures have been extremely successful. In 2014, the number of cable thefts fell spectacularly by 73%, and was followed by another dramatic fall in 2015.
Trespassing remains a social problem with a major impact on punctuality
In 2015, Infrabel stepped up its anti-trespassing measures. This is a social problem. People simply walk onto railway property to take a shortcut, go for a walk, play and so on. However, walking on the track bed is not just strictly prohibited – it is also potentially fatal. Trespassers do not realise that a train has a very long braking distance and cannot deviate from its route.
Beside the safety issue, trespassing is a huge threat to train punctuality. As soon as a report is received of trespassing, all rail traffic must be stopped or trains have to crawl along. In 2015 this caused 112,327 minutes of delay. This is more than in 2014.
We have therefore taken action on two levels: hard infrastructure measures (such as anti-trespass panels or barriers in places where many trespassers are reported) and soft awareness-raising measures in the form of national awareness-raising campaigns.