If you are unable to travel by train because of a delay or cancellation, or if you have started your journey but are unable to complete it and have returned to your departure point, you are entitled to a full refund.
You should not be asked to pay an administration fee and you don’t have to accept rail vouchers, even if you bought your ticket with a rail voucher. The same goes for tickets bought online, over the phone or through a travel agent.
Most UK train companies now offer compensation under the national 'Delay Repay' scheme although a few are still operating less generous schemes.
Under the scheme, as a general rule, if you’ve experienced a train delay or cancellation of at least 15 minutes (or 30 minutes for some train companies) you'll be entitled to a full or partial refund for that journey. There are exceptions however, and the compensation amounts are different when there’s engineering work or strikes happening, and can vary based on whether you have a single or season ticket.
If you find you don’t qualify under the Delay Repay scheme, you can consider a claim using the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This is when you've suffered a financial loss because the train company has failed to deliver its service with 'reasonable care and skill'. This might include circumstances where, for example, you have waited a disproportionate length of time, but don’t qualify for compensation under the train company’s compensation scheme (e.g waited 25 minutes to make a 10-minute journey), if you have had to travel on a severely overcrowded trains because there were too few carriages available, or if you suffered reasonable additional out of pocket losses or costs (outside of the cost of your ticket), such as a replacement connecting journey, taxis or Ubers, or even missed flights or hotel rooms.
When you start your claim, there should be an option to state how you would like to receive compensation. You are not obligated to accept rail vouchers as compensation, so if you don't want rail vouchers, ask for money. You might find that you have to explicitly request a cash refund or your train company may choose to give you vouchers as default instead.
Making a successful claim for losses other than the basic compensation isn't always straightforward, and there are several points you will need to prove.
We can help you work out whether you might be entitled to compensation and whether you are likely to be able to claim additional losses. We’ll talk you through your options and how best to approach the train company or the booking agent.
If the train company still refuses to cooperate, we can explain how you may be able to escalate the issue to a dispute resolution service. We’ll: