NS wants passengers to be confident that they will arrive at their destination at the scheduled time. The performance indicator ‘Punctuality for passengers on the main rail network’ measures NS passenger arrival punctuality, defined as being within 5 minutes of the scheduled arrival time, at 35 representative stations, taking account of connections not missed and train cancellations. Punctuality for passengers was 91.3 % this year (2015: 91.0% That is above the baseline value (90.0%) but less than the target value (91.2%). The increased punctuality is due to better adjustment and control, in particular in the busy autumn period, plus better weather conditions in 2016. Additionally, the low number of train cancellations at the 10 stations with the most passengers contributed to the positive score. Other than these aspects, the performance was comparable to 2015. There were regional differences, however. Due to diversions of freight trains from the Betuwe Route to the Brabant Route, as well as engineering work and speed limitations at the Moerdijk bridge, punctuality for passengers in Noord-Brabant and Zuid-Holland was under pressure most of the year. On the other hand, each of the 10 stations with the most passengers had fewer train cancellations in 2016 than in 2015. And 8 out of those 10 stations saw an increase in train punctuality. The greatest improvements have been seen at Utrecht Centraal, Arnhem Centraal and Nijmegen stations. The key reason is the updated and improved infrastructure in Utrecht, which stations in all directions benefit from.

Running on time on the HSL South

With a passenger punctuality rating of 93.7%, the HSL South just failed to meet the baseline value of 94%. This score can largely be explained by a poor first quarter, in which many trains were cancelled (12%). Performance was increasingly better over the course of the year. Cancellations were reduced thanks to a joint improvement programme by NS and ProRail. A measure that NS and ProRail expect to make a major contribution to reducing the number of cancellations is running the InterCity direct in what are known as ‘sandwich configurations’. This means having a locomotive at the front and back of the train. It is expected that performance will keep improving. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment had an independent review carried out into the improvement plans of NS and ProRail. The result is that – given the complexity of the HSL corridor in a stable situation – a cancellation rate of 5-7% is attainable.

Focus routes

The 10 hubs for which there is concern scored a passenger punctuality rating of 94.3% in 2016 (where punctuality is defined to 15 minutes). This is higher than the baseline value of 93.7%, but lower than the target value (95.0%). One of the causes was the long-term blockage of the Moerdijk bridge. There are two routes needing to be focused on here that are extensions of each other, so the lower punctuality of trains counted for both routes.

Performance indicators for the transport franchise

Performance indicator

Realisation in 2016

Realisation in 2015

Target value for 2019

Baseline value for 2016

Punctuality for passengers* (joint indicator with the infrastructure manager)





Focus routes for punctuality for passengers (indicator to be achieved jointly with the infrastructure manager)





Punctuality for passengers on the HSL South services (insofar as attributable to NS)





Quality of the NS connections to other carriers at the major hubs**





  • *Number that takes account of not only the punctuality and cancellation of trains, but also connections that were not missed and the number of passengers per train.
  • **The quality of connections to other carriers shows how well NS makes it possible to change trains to other carriers. The quality of changeovers is measured by determining the punctuality of arrival of NS trains at the 18 most important changeover stations. The result is the percentage of main rail network trains arriving at these stations with delays to arrival of less than five minutes.