Passenger Voice May 2015: Case Study

30 April 2015

Mrs D’s son was due to travel on 24 October on the 7.30pm train from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads. He was travelling to a family wedding and was booked into a room at a local hotel. Unfortunately, all trains were cancelled due to a fatality on the line. He had a ticket refund, but Mrs D contacted us as she had had to pay for the hotel room which her son had been unable to use. She wanted a refund of £60.

When the train was cancelled, Mrs D’s son was told that the line was closed and there would be no onward services. No other options were given for him to get to Bristol Temple Meads. Staff couldn’t advise if he’d be able to get a later service so he had no choice but to abandon the journey.

Train companies do not offer compensation as a matter of course under the National Rail Conditions of Carriage for this type of situation, which they term consequential loss, but will consider claims in exceptional circumstances. We felt that he had no way of getting to the hotel to use the room and was advised that the line was closed until further notice. We asked the train company, First Great Western (FGW) to reconsider refunding the hotel costs.

FGW explained that staff wouldn’t have given an indication of when the next service would run as far as Bristol because it would be impossible to know. The disruption was due to a fatality and the line had been closed by the police. Any estimate might have provided false hope. However, FGW appreciated the frustration that Mrs D had paid for an unused hotel room and so it covered the full cost of £60 as a gesture of goodwill.

Mrs D was very pleased with the outcome.

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