Skip to content

Your rights to compensation (rail)

If you are delayed you may be entitled to compensation. Each train company sets its own arrangements for compensation as a result of delays and cancellations.

The National Rail Conditions of Carriage set out the minimum levels of compensation if you are delayed by a late-running or cancelled train.

Each train company sets its own level of compensation above so check the company’s Passenger’s Charter via the links below.
Abellio Greater Anglia Arriva Trains Wales c2c
Chiltern Railways CrossCountry East Coast
East Midlands Trains Govia Thameslink Railway First Great Western
First Hull Trains First TransPennine Express Grand Central
London Midland London Overground Merseyrail
Northern Rail ScotRail Southeastern
Southern/Gatwick Express South West Trains/Island Line Virgin Trains

Heathrow Express’s compensation arrangements are shown in its Conditions of Carriage, see:

https://www.heathrowexpress.com/Files/Conditions-of-carriage.pdf (under refunds).

Heathrow Connect: for journeys between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport, the Heathrow Express arrangements apply (see immediately above).  For journeys between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, the First Great Western (former Great Western Link) arrangements apply: see above.

1. Individual journey tickets

Compensation schemes vary, but as a minimum, if you are one hour late at your destination station, you are entitled to:

  • 20 per cent of the price paid for a single ticket
  • 10 per cent of the price paid for a return ticket if the delay to you is just on one leg of the journey
  • 20 per cent of the price paid for a return ticket if both legs are delayed.

Two types of compensation scheme are in place which are generally more than the minimum set out above. They are:.

  • Some train companies still operate the original Passenger’s Charter compensation scheme.  The levels of compensation vary between train companies, as do the minimum qualifying periods.  Full details are shown in each company’s Passenger’s Charter: see above.  The companies are not obliged to pay compensation if the delay was caused by events outside the railway’s control: e.g. severe weather, vandalism or when emergency services close the line. But some may.
  •  An increasing number of train companies now operate the ‘Delay Repay’ scheme.  Under this you are entitled to compensation each time you are delayed at least 30 minutes, regardless of the cause. The level of compensation may increase in line with the length of the delay. You must claim – it is not paid out automatically. Details on how to claim will be on the train company’s website in its Passenger’s Charter.

For more information see the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and the company’s Passenger’s Charter (see above).

In all cases:

  • you must claim within 28 days of completing the journey;
  • send the ticket for that journey with your claim. No ticket often means no compensation;
  • compensation is usually paid in rail vouchers but if you prefer another method then request it.  Some companies do undertake to pay compensation in cash.

2. Season tickets

a) Weekly season tickets

As a minimum, if you are one hour late at your destination station, you are entitled to:

  • 20 per cent of the price of the weekly ticket divided by seven

Some companies offer compensation for delays of less than one hour.

b) Monthly or longer season tickets

Train companies’ policies differ so you should check the relevant Passenger’s Charter on their website (see above).

Generally there are two types of compensation scheme:

  • Some train companies still operate the original Passenger’s Charter compensation scheme.  Under its rules, you may qualify for a discount on your next season ticket when you renew it, if the performance targets for the route or routes you travel on have not been met. This deduction from the full price should be automatically applied when you buy the next ticket, but do remember to check!
  • An increasing number of train companies now operate the ‘Delay Repay’ scheme.  Under this you are entitled to compensation each time you are delayed at least 30 minutes, regardless of the cause.  You have to make a claim – it is not paid out automatically. Details on how to claim will be on the train company’s website.

And if you do not receive what you think you are entitled to, please contact Transport Focus.  We may be able to take the complaint up with the company on your behalf.

Related content

Latest news

Newsletter out today

Find out more
Latest publication

Bus Passenger Survey methodological overview – Autumn 2015 wave

Find out more
Latest post

Working together for transport users

Find out more