Virgin Trains delays - what are you entitled to?

8 January 2009

Only eight days into the new year, and already 70 per cent of Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line are running late. Outstanding. That kind of wholesale timetable abandonment takes a particular degree of skill and attention you just don't see much anymore.

Delays have been significant, so it's worth remembering that Virgin have a comprehensive Passenger Charter that applies whether you are waiting for a train or already travelling.

If you've suffered in recent days or about to take a trip on the West Coast Main Line (or any other service offered by Virgin Trains), we've read through the charter to see what you're entitled to:

- If you're delayed for more than one hour waiting for a Virgin train at a station, you will, where possible, be provided with vouchers for free non-alcoholic drinks.

- If you've already joined the train and it's delayed for more than 30 minutes, you'll be provided complimentary non-alcoholic drinks until stocks are exhausted.

- If your train is cancelled and the subsequent train is two or more hours later, transport will be provided to the nearest railway station that can conveniently be used to enable you to reach your destination station, or, at Virgin Trains' discretion, your actual destination.

- If a delay to a Virgin train causes an hour or more delay to your journey (45 minutes in the case of a train on the London -Birmingham/Wolverhampton services) you'll be reimbursed with National Rail vouchers equal to 25% of the total fare paid for the affected portion (outwards/return) of the journey.

- if you're delayed on a Virgin train by more than 2 hours, you'll be reimbursed you with National Rail vouchers equal to the full price paid for the affected portion (outwards/return) of the journey.

- If the train you planned to catch is delayed or cancelled and you decide not to travel, Virgin Trains will, where possible, give you a full and immediate refund if you return your ticket to any ticket office.

The website also points out that in certain situations, refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you've a reasonable case for a refund, and we suspect they'll be plenty of you, you can find out how to contact Virgin Trains Customer Relations here.


  • Matt
    Great bit of info here! I travel Manchester -London a lot and will be cashing in on the free drinks! I only hope the people on the ground staffing the on-board shops know about these rules!
  • MB
    > If you’ve already joined the train and it’s delayed for more than 30 minutes, you’ll be provided complimentary non-alcoholic drinks until stocks are exhausted. Last time it happened to me, they were giving out free tea and coffee and water if you asked, but no cans or bottled water. No announcement was made that they were doing this. When GNER was in business on the east coast line, I remember them doing an announcement during a delay to say you could get free drinks from the buffet.
  • Bob
    What if, and this happened to me last year, the route you were travelling on is closed due to a derailment in high winds and you have to travel on another Virgin route which means you're stuck in a carriage with a load of drunk Tottenham fans on a slow train back to London and arrive 1.5 hours after you intended?
  • Paul S.
    That particular set of circumstances isn't specifically covered, sadly.
  • Mike H.
    Unlucky Bob, if they were West Ham fans, you would have got double your money back.
  • gidz
    and they wander why people use their car!
  • john b.
    @ gidz: because people are idiots, and the press are hopelessly biased. How much compo d'you think the people caught up in this lot or this lot got this week?
  • Virgin h.
    [...] Trains Passengers Charter From: - If you
  • sam
    It is not fair if a passenger was miss only even 1 min of a leaving time then passesger will pay the price. Why any train service should get away with fail service. It should be more than an ice-lolly
  • Elizabeth
    My train was delayed for 40 mins due to a fatality on the tracks. Because of this delay I missed my last train home and had to get a taxi costing £35. Will I be reimbursed?
  • Patricia G.
    My husband and I travelled from Manchester Picadilly to Euston London on Wednesday 1 April leaving Manchester at 12h15. We experienced an 80 minute delay. Please advise whether we are entitled to a refund

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