Czech Railways Struggle with Delays

Czech Railways, the country’s largest transportation provider, has seen a modest reduction in delayed trains this year. The percentage of delayed trains from the beginning of the year to mid-June was 10.8 percent, which is two points lower than the same period last year. However, the organization is working to improve on-time performance.

According to České dráhy (Czech Railways) spokesman Emanuel Vittek, if only delays caused by the company were counted, 98.9 percent of trains would arrive on time. Among the most common causes of delays are train crossings or overtaking (27.1 percent), waiting for connections (23.1 percent), and planned closures of railway tracks (13.8 percent).

Jan Nevola of the Czech Railways General Directorate said that if only one indicator is monitored, namely whether the train was delayed due to reasons on the part of the Railway Administration, improvements compared to last year are 43.89 percent for long-distance trains, 19.36 percent for regional trains, and 55.83 percent for freight trains. Other reasons for train delays include calamities, police interventions, or train composition changes.

Czech Railways and the Railway Administration have made punctuality a new criterion for rewarding top managers, namely the CEO, and deputies. This parameter should affect their annual bonuses by 15 percent.

For this year, train punctuality is monitored until December 31st. The Railway Administration Board is expected to decide in January or February whether this indicator has been met, Nevola explained.

The results and determination of rewards for Czech Railways will be reviewed by the supervisory board, which will also consider other parameters, such as reducing the number of rejected trains due to defects.

RegioJet, the largest private railway operator, has not provided data on the rate of delays. The most common causes of delays are construction activities or extraordinary events caused by a higher power. Storms can cause failures of security equipment, damage to overhead lines, or track impassability, according to Alexandra Janoušek Kostřicová, a spokeswoman for the company.

Another private carrier, Arriva, claims that only 2.3 percent of its train connections arrived late in the first five months of this year, similar to previous years. According to Arriva spokesperson Jan Holub, the decay rate has been stable at around two percent since 2020, when it began to operate more visibly on Czech railways.