Do you know how to apply for a rail refund?

21 February 2014

Most of us have no idea what our rights are when it comes to applying for a refund after a cancelled or delayed train journey. Do we get compensation? Is it worth bothering to fill in a million forms only to be given a £5 voucher for your next soul-destroying adventure?


A report from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found that 75% of us know ‘not very much at all’ about the refund process or what compensation – if any - we’re entitled to. It also found that 74% of passengers felt that train companies do bugger all to provide information about compensation.

Passengers suggested a poster campaign and more prominently displayed information about compensation on websites, somewhat naively thinking that the rail companies might have our best interests at heart. At the moment, half of the 1000 passengers surveyed said they wouldn’t know where to find information on compensation even if they looked for it.

The ORR are now planning to develop a code of practice on clearer and more freely available information about rail compensation by the end of 2014, saying that passengers are ‘at the heart’ of the rail industry and are ‘crucial to its growth.’

Whether that will make rail companies treat us more like human beings rather than doomed pigs on the way to the abbatoir remains to be seen. But you never know – furious customers demanding compensation might be just the ticket to get trains running on time.

TOPICS:   Travel   UK News   How To Guides


  • OlPeculier
    I've been on an East Coast train that was very, very late getting to King's Cross and the staff were going around with booklets to use to claim a refund. I've also had the same at York when the train was late getting in so had a taxi paid by them to get me home.
  • Froggie
    I'm amazed that people don't claim and don't know how to. Did they go to school? I have claimed five times in recent years on the East Coast run. Once because a train failed in front of ours. Once because our train damaged the over-head lines and had to be towed away. Once because there was a fire alarm in the KX signal box. Twice because persons killed themselves on the track around Stevenage and Baldock. Try that with Northern though. You have a seat reservation on the East Coast, and a through ticket from a Northern Station. The Northern train is late because the driver is still in bed. You miss the East Coast. You're standing (no seat) for 200 miles. It seems that travel is guaranteed e.g. on the next train, but a seat isn't. And yet Northern is the most subsidised train company. Try that also at KX if your train is cancelled. There is the most enormous rush of people wanting to go the short trip to Stevenage or Peterborough, and your seat reservation counts for nothing. Not only should they compensate for delays, but they should also compensate for "loss of seat". They should not pay IMHO for delays caused by people wanting to kill themslves in front of a train driver!
  • Mr r.
    Refund in shitty vouchers meaning you have to then find a station to use them, can't use them online. They make it as awkward as possible, on purpose.

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