How to claim for delayed or cancelled trains

29 October 2013

The storm of 28 October led to hundreds of train cancellations, leaving many people unable to commute to work. The weather led to ongoing disruption on 29 October too, with long delays experienced by rail passengers, particularly those using First Capital Connect services.

Train users can no doubt expect further disruption as we head into the winter months, so here's our guide to your consumers rights when experiencing train and tube delays.

Can I claim a refund if my train is delayed?

You can claim compensation for delays – depending on how long you have been delayed for. According to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, train operating companies (TOCs) must issue refunds at a set minimum to delayed passengers (see below).

How much money will I get back for a delayed train?

According to those Conditions of Carriage rules, train firms only have to pay a part-refund if trains are delayed by over an hour. This minimum refund is: 20% of a single ticket (10% of a return, unless both legs were delayed. However, most TOCs pay more than this, with the standard refund being: a 50% refund for a delay of 30 minutes or more, double that for an hour delay or longer.

Most TOCs have a "delay repay" section or similar, at which you can apply for your refund quickly and easily. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) lists every train company's website at

I've got a season ticket. Do I get a refund?

Yes, but season ticket-holders do not get the same refund as single ticket-holders. Instead, their refunds are calculated using the proportional daily cost of the price of their annual ticket. So what they get depends on price of their ticket. As an easy rule, season ticket-holders tend to get short-changed on refunds compared to single ticket-holders.

How do I get my refund?

If you can't claim online at your TOC's website (see above), you should be able to pick up a compensation form, at the ticket office. However, you MUST make a claim within 28 days of completing your journey or your claim will be invalid.

How quickly will my refund come?

Refunds can take up to a month to arrive. At the time of claiming, you can ask to receive your refund in the form of cash (only if you are obtaining a full and immediate refund) or in the form of rail vouchers, which can be sued with any train company. These last for a year from the date of issue, but the frustrating thing is that you cannot currently use them when booking journeys online.

I live and work in London. Can I claim for delayed tube travel?

Yes, if your journey is delayed by more than 15 minutes. Tube passengers are entitled to a refund of the fare for the single journey they were making (and applies to season tickets as well as single fares). London Overground passengers get the same refund but not until their journey is delayed by more than 30 minutes.

However, you've got to be quick – you only have 14 days to make a claim. Refunds can take around three weeks to arrive.

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