Returning to work in January after the Christmas break is a melancholy affair at the best of times, but for commuters affected by the recent train chaos the blow was extra painful.
Passengers on London Midland and Virgin Trains have suffered a week of commuter misery as power cable problems resulted in disrupted services.
However, if you were affected by delayed or cancelled trains then you should take the time to claim compensation from your train operators.
Each rail company has a Passenger Charter, which sets out your entitlement to compensation for travel problems.
Andrew Adonis, transport minister, says: “I strongly urge passengers who suffered from a series of different incidents that disrupted their journeys to claim what they are entitled to. Compensation forms are available at stations, and for passengers from Euston these can also be downloaded from the Virgin and London Midland websites as appropriate."
Virgin Train’s Passenger Charter
People with single, return or weekly tickets:
If your journey was delayed by an hour or more (or 45 minutes if you are a passenger on the London to Birmingham/Wolverhampton services) then you are entitled to vouchers equal to 25% of the total fare you paid.
If your journey was delayed by more than two hours then you can claim compensation for the full fare you paid.
To receive compensation you must provide your name, address and fare paid. If you received a validated claims form from Virgin at the time of the problem then use this. Alternatively, include your ticket as proof of purchase.
People with monthly or annual season tickets:
When you renew your season ticket then you could be entitled to a discount based on poor performance over the previous year.
Virgin has a 90% punctuality target, and if it fails to reach this target by 3% or more then you will automatically be given a 5% discount. You be also receive a 5% discount if reliability falls more than 1% its 99% target.
If both punctuality and reliability are below these targets, then Virgin will give you a discount of 10%.
If performance is particularly bad, then Virgin has the discretion to declare a day ‘void’, which means you could get a full day’s refund or extension to your season.
You can either make a claim by picking up a form from a station or online on Virgin Train’s website.
London Midland’s Passenger Charter
All passengers are entitled to vouchers equal to 50% of their fare if their journey is delayed by between 30 to 59 minutes.
If your journey is delayed by an hour or more then you can claim compensation for the fare for that leg of the journey.
And if the journey is delayed by more than two hours, return-ticket passengers could receive 100% of the full cost of the return ticket rather than just the single.
You can either make a claim by picking up a form from a station or online on London Midland’s website.