If you have a complaint about the railway or the service you have received from a train company then you should contact the company involved. Most complaints can be resolved by dealing directly with the company responsible.

Tips for making a complaint

You will need to contact the right rail company first. National Rail Enquiries gives a list of all the train operating companies. The National Rail Enquiries journey planner can also tell you which train company you need to complain to and provides their contact details.
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If your complaint concerns a station then you will need to know who manages it. Use the National Rail Enquiries station finder to do this.

The following sources may help you find out if you have a valid complaint:

When making your complaint, try to include as much detail as you can. If you have copies of your tickets and receipts this will also help.

If your complaint concerns information given by a customer service helpline or the National Rail Enquiry Service then make sure you include the date and time of your telephone call and the full number of the phone you called them from. This will make it possible to trace your call and  may help speed up the handling of your complaint.


  • if you have been given a reference number please use it
  • keep copies of any letters and emails sent
  • don’t send original receipts or bank statements, only photocopies and consider getting proof of delivery
  • if you don’t get a reply within 10 working days then contact the company to make sure it has received your letter.

What should I say?

You should always try to include as much information as possible

  • the reason for your complaint
  • a description of the inconvenience caused
  • the date and time of your journey and which stations you used
  • how many people travelled with you
  • explain anything you have already done to try and resolve the matter
  • an explanation of the action you would like the company to take
  • any other relevant details.

What if I’m still unhappy?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint or you do not feel the train company handled it appropriately, then you can contact the Rail Ombudsman.

What next

Have you complained to the train company but not received a response?

Please wait until you have received a final response from the train company – the train company must be given an opportunity to respond to you first, before Transport Focus or The Rail Ombudsman can get involved.

If you haven’t received a response from the train company, it is worth checking that it received your complaint. If there is a delay in its response this may be due to a backlog of complaints. However, if you have chased for a response but still haven’t received one after 40 working days, you can contact The Rail Ombudsman to take your complaint further.

Received a 'deadlock' letter or just aren't satisfied?

If you have received a response from the train company and remain unhappy, you can contact The Rail Ombudsman to take your complaint further.

The Rail Ombudsman will review your complaint and contact you within three working days to explain how it will progress your case.

If your complaint falls outside the scope or eligibility criteria for the Rail Ombudsman, your complaint may be passed to another organisation that may be better placed to deal with it for you.

Please note that The Rail Ombudsman is not empowered to investigate disputes relating to parking fines or the circumstances that may have led to the issuing of a penalty fare. This is because different independent appeal bodies already exist for these matters. Should your complaint relate to either of these topics, please contact the appeal body specified on your Penalty Notice. If you feel that the process has not been correctly followed by the relevant appeal body, please contact Transport Focus.

Our commitment to you

Transport  Focus will always do its best to help resolve your complaint or enquiry to your satisfaction, even if that means it is passed on to where its believed it can be resolved more effectively.

Transport Focus follows three key principles:

  • aim high and seek the best possible outcome for a passenger’s complaint
  • clarify the role Transport Focus can play and help the passenger to understand what can be realistically achieved
  • be empathetic; Transport Focus will always put itself in your place to understand your concerns

Further details can be found in Transport Focus’s Customer Complaints Handling Procedure and Privacy Policy.