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Passenger Voice April 2016: Case study

04 April 2016

In December 2015 Mr M had booked a batch of advance tickets dated every Monday from December to March 2016 from Edinburgh to Crewe. Damage caused to Lamington Viaduct by Storm Frank meant that the Lockerbie line had to be temporarily closed down for repair. An alternate timetable was put in place by train companies.

For the first leg of his journey Mr M was due to travel from Edinburgh to Preston with Virgin Trains, however due to service cancellations and the introduction of the alternate timetable, he had to alter his travel plans. Initially Mr M had been able to use his ticket to catch alternative services using Virgin Trains East Coast and TransPennine Express but this delayed him by an hour.

However Virgin then announced that it was no longer accepting advance tickets from TransPennine Express on its services and had put the same measures in place for Virgin Trains tickets. This meant that Mr M was no longer allowed to use his Virgin ticket on the TransPennine Express train and had to travel by bus replacement service for part of his journey, delaying him by a further two hours.

Mr M contacted Virgin Trains and was told that the restrictions on tickets would remain in place. Mr M contacted Transport Focus as he felt that the situation was unfair, as his tickets were purchased before the amended timetable. We asked TransPennine Express why it would not accept his Virgin ticket on its trains when it had done so on previous occasions. TransPennine Express explained that Virgin Trains had imposed restrictions on TransPennine customers’ tickets and it had therefore implemented the same measures. On this basis it would not offer compensation to Mr M.

We got in touch with Virgin, which said that due to the extent of the delays and the inconvenience caused, it would be able to reimburse Mr M in Delay Repay compensation. This thankfully coincided with the re-opening of the Lockerbie line and Mr M was able to complete the rest of his booked journeys without disruption.

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