Hungarian trains are infamous for the critical amount of delays. Index.hu summarised the data retrieved from MÁV (Hungarian State Railways) to find out how serious this problem was last year. The total delay throughout the whole network was precisely 1,831,556 minutes. This is approximately 3.5 years altogether.
According to Index, this tendency is quite standard in Hungary; the average delay has been 1.77 years in every six months between 2008 and 2014. The enormous investments do not seem to show any impact on punctuality.
There is about a 12.5% chance that anyone who takes a train in Hungary will be late. Occasionally, this might mean that they will miss their transfer.
This huge amount of delay was gathered by 120,423 trains, which is one-eighth of the total number of trains travelling across Hungary in a year. The average delay was around 15.2 minutes per person in 2017. A train which derailed in Esztergom set the record; the process of repairs took 971 minutes (more than 16 hours).
The bad news is that these numbers are somewhat rounded down. MÁV uses the UIC standard to calculate the data, so delays under 6 minutes are not even taken into account. If a train is 5 minutes 59 seconds late, it is considered accurate. This means that the real total delay can be much more than indicated.
Index examined the delays from the perspective of railway tracks: it was revealed that the highest risk of delay is on the lines to two cities in the Southern region, Pécs and Szeged (with 28 and 25 percent of the trains being late, respectively).
40 of the delaying trains are late due to technical issues like damaged railways, overhead contacts or supply installations.
The state is planning to spend more than four times as much funds on developing the railway system than in the past ten years combined, almost 13 billion euros — like the recent purchase of electric trains.
MÁV responded to Index’s claims, stating that the company is constantly developing since 2012 and that is visible in the number of customers, as 2.3 million more people travelled by their trains in 2016 than in the year before. This rate was 1 million new customers in the last year.
MÁV also highlighted the popularity of certain railway tracks such as the Budapest-Székesfehérvár-Nagykanizsa line which produced a 9.5 percent increase in the number of passengers. The summer season also brought an 8.6 percent growth for the railway tracks around Lake Balaton. The largest increase in the number of passengers was on the line to Esztergom, which transported 56 percent more people in 2016 than in 2015.
Concerning delays, MÁV’s representatives stated that the punctuality rate of their trains was 86 percent in 2012, while it became 92.35 percent in 2016. This year’s first quarter was measured as 91.2 percent punctual.
The railway company highlighted that they did not initiate the repair on many lines yet, or their constructions are still in progress, so it is the reason why the developments are not obviously visible yet. However, MÁV also keeps abolishing some of its former services like sleeping and buffet cars.