Skip to main content

Your Rights and Obligations as a Passenger

Find out about the regulations that govern your rights and responsibilities as a passenger, including what level of service you can expect from National Rail and the train companies

National Rail Conditions of Travel

When you buy a ticket to travel on the railway network you enter into an agreement with the train companies. That agreement gives you the right to make the journey between the stations or within the zones shown on your ticket.

The National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCoT) are also part of that agreement and they apply to all domestic (non-international) journeys by scheduled passenger train services of the train companies on the railway network of Great Britain.

National Rail Conditions of Travel valid from 2 April 2024

While these National Rail Conditions of Travel set out your rights and any restrictions of those rights, the train companies may give you more extensive rights than those set out here. However, they are not permitted to give you less rights, unless a condition specifically allows for this, such as with some types of reduced and discounted fare tickets, like Advance tickets.

The National Rail Conditions of Travel therefore set out the minimum level of service you are entitled to expect.

A train company’s ticket office staff will give impartial advice about tickets and any restrictions concerning their use, unless the point of sale is dedicated to the sale of a single train company’s tickets.

Additional Conditions of Travel

Oyster and contactless: If you use Oyster or contactless on a National Rail service (either wholly or as part of a through journey), there are additional conditions to those in the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

Where these differ from the National Rail Conditions of Travel they will take precedence when you are using Oyster or contactless.

Heathrow Express: When travelling on Heathrow Express services between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington, your ticket is subject to additional conditions.

Rail Industry Code of Practice

The rail industry offers a range of products and services, and ways of choosing and buying them.

The Code of Practice on retail information for rail tickets and services is primarily for train companies and other retailers, to help them provide the best information so that passengers can understand their choices, plan their journeys with confidence, and achieve value for money. However, you may also find it useful in helping to understand how the industry operates, the choices available to you, the service you should expect, and your rights.

Railway Byelaws

Britain’s Railway Byelaws cover trains, tracks and stations across the country and apply to conduct and behaviour, equipment and safety, control of premises, and travel and fares. To ensure ease of travel and safety for everyone using or working in the railway system, the Byelaws need to be observed.

  • You can read and download the Railway Byelaws (opens on the website)

Passenger’s Charters

Each train company has a Passenger’s Charter, which is a guide to the level of service you can expect to receive when using their stations and train services.

Accessible Travel Policy

Train and station operators are required by their operating licenses to establish and comply with an Accessible Travel Policy (ATP), which must be approved by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The ATP includes the arrangements and assistance that an operator will provide to protect the interests of disabled people using its services, and how it facilitates that use.

Ticket Irregularities Code of Practice

Train companies carry out regular inspections, both on trains and at stations, to make sure that customers are buying and using the correct tickets.

If you do not have the right ticket for your journey when you had the opportunity to purchase one, you may be issued with a Penalty Fare or an Unpaid Fare Notice, or further action may be taken to examine the circumstances of the case. This can lead to prosecution in some cases.