Advice Column: Compensation for train delays
Can I get a refund when my train is delayed?
This advice applies to England only.
You can get a full refund if your train journey is cancelled.
If you’re delayed and arrive at your destination more than half an hour late, you’ll usually be able to get some money back. Some train companies will also give you compensation if your train is more than 15 minutes late.
You need to keep your train tickets to get a refund.
You should try to claim within 28 days, but some train companies allow longer.
If you travelled with Transport for London (TfL), for example on the London Underground, you can find how much you could get and how to claim on their website.
If you have a season ticket, the best thing to do is ask at your ticket office or check your train company’s website. You’ll usually be able to get some money back for a delay or cancellation.
Some travel insurers cover the cost of missed flights, if the reason was out of your control. If you miss a flight because your train to the airport was delayed or cancelled, contact your travel insurance provider to check if you can claim.
How much you can get for a cancellation
You’re entitled to a full refund if your train was cancelled – it doesn’t matter what type of ticket you bought.
How much you can get for a delay
The amount you can claim depends on which train company you travelled with – check your ticket if you’re not sure.
If your train company offers ‘Delay Repay’
You can get compensation if your train company is part of a scheme called ‘Delay Repay’ – it doesn’t matter why your train was delayed.
Check your train company’s website to find out if they offer Delay Repay (they might call it ‘delay compensation’.
You’re legally entitled to compensation of:
- 50% of your ticket price if you get to your destination between 30 minutes and an hour late
- a full refund if you arrive more than 1 hour late
Delay Repay 15
Some train companies have an extra scheme called ‘Delay Repay 15’. In these cases you’re entitled to 25% of your ticket price if you get to your destination between 15 and 29 minutes late. Check your train company’s website to find out if they offer Delay Repay 15.
If your train company doesn’t offer ‘Delay Repay’
You can still get compensation under rules called the ‘National Rail Conditions of Carriage’ if the train company doesn’t offer Delay Repay, but you won’t get as much.
You won’t get anything if the delay wasn’t the train company’s fault – for example if you were delayed because of bad weather.
If you arrived at your destination more than an hour late you’ll be entitled to:
- 50% of your ticket price if you bought a single ticket
- 25% of your ticket price if you bought a return ticket
- 50% of your ticket price if you bought a return ticket and were delayed on both journeys for more than an hour
How to claim
You can claim compensation by visiting the train company’s website – most have online forms you can use. You’ll probably need to upload a picture of your ticket.
You can write them a letter if you’d prefer. Threr is a template letter on the Which? Consumer Rights website at http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter/letter-to-claim-compensation-for-train-delays-and-cancellations which will help you include the right information. You’ll need to give details of your journey, and send your original tickets. It’s a good idea to make copies of them in case your letter goes missing – a digital photograph or scan will do. You should get a refund within a month.
A lot of companies offer vouchers to use on future train journeys. You don’t have to accept them – if you want a cash refund, you can insist on it.
If you’re not happy with the response
If you’re not happy with the response from your train company you can take your complaint to Transport Focus – they’ll have another look at your claim and make an independent decision. They will expect you to have complained directly to the train company first.
Telephone: 0300 123 2350
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am to 4pm
Calls cost 3p to 45p from mobiles, and up to 12p from landlines
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