Passenger Rights to Refunds & Compensation

Refunds

Under the National Rail Conditions of Travel, if your train is cancelled or delayed and you choose not to travel, you are entitled to a full refund.

If you decide not to travel for another reason, you can usually get a refund less the cost of an admin fee (maximum £10).

Some tickets, such as Advance fares, are not refundable.

To get your refund you should return your ticket to the retailer it was bought from (including online third-party retailers such as The Trainline or RedSpottedHanky), stating the date and time you intended to travel.

Compensation

If your train is delayed and you decide to still travel, you may be entitled to compensation.

The amount of compensation you can claim will depend on which operator(s) you are travelling with. Special arrangements exist for Season ticket holders (see below).

Each train company sets its own level of compensation, as set down by the company's Passenger's Charter. Links to all operators’ Charters are available here.

The National Rail Conditions of Travel outlines the minimum offered through Passenger’s Charters but in practise the vast majority of operators pay more than that.

 

As a minimum, if you are one hour late at your destination, you are entitled to:

  • Single ticket, or return ticket if both legs are delayed – 50% of the price paid
  • Return ticket with delay on outward or return journey – 50% of the price paid for the relevant part of the journey
  • Season Ticket – details of arrangements for Season Ticket holders are set out in each Train Company’s Passenger’s Charter

Train companies consider claims on a case by case basis and are only contractually obliged to pay compensation in certain circumstances.

Train companies may not pay out if the delay was caused by something outside the control of the rail industry. The National Rail Conditions of Travel sets out these circumstances which include, vandalism, exceptionally severe weather and when the police or emergency services close the line. For more information see the National Rail Conditions of Travel and the company's Passenger’s Charter.

In other circumstances where you consider you have received poor service you should contact the train company concerned.

How to claim:

  • Claims need to be made within 28 days of completing the journey
  • Claims need to be accompanied by the ticket for the specific journey for which you would like compensation. Without the ticket, train companies have no way of knowing whether the claim is genuine
  • Compensation is usually paid in rail vouchers, which are valid for a year and on any operator’s routes. If you prefer another method, then some operators will pay in cash if requested
  • Claims can always be submitted by post, but increasing numbers of operators are offering an online claim process

Season Tickets

Different train companies have different policies so you should check the relevant Passenger's Charter.

As a minimum, if you are one hour late at your destination, you are entitled to 20% of the price of a Weekly Season Ticket, but some companies offer compensation for delays of less than one hour.

There are two main types in which compensation is paid to Season Ticket holders.

Renewal discounts

A discount on Monthly and longer Season tickets when you renew, depending on whether the performance targets for the train company you use have been met. These targets will vary according to the route you travel on, so check with your operator. If performance misses the targets, Monthly and longer Season ticket holders will receive an automatic discount on their ticket when they renew it, regardless of whether they have been affected by delays or not.

Just under half of train companies operate this scheme: Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway, ScotRail, TransPennine Express, Northern, South West Trains, and Chiltern Railways.

Delay Repay

Delay repay applies to all tickets including Season tickets.

Passengers are entitled to compensation each time for any delay of 30 minutes or more. Season ticket holders need to submit claims for compensation for delays on specific trains, rather than receive an automatic discount at renewal. Details on how to claim will be on the train company's website.

Under Delay Repay, passengers are able to claim for compensation even if the company was not responsible for the delay, for example because of bad weather.

The following train companies operate Delay Repay, and the government has stated that all new franchises will adopt the policy: CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink, Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Trains.