If you're a passenger on Great Northern, Southern, Gatwick Express or Thameslink trains and you experience a delay of 15 minutes or more you'll be able to claim compensation from Sunday (11 December).

Customers of these train operators will be the first in the country to be able to claim under the new Government Delay Repay 15 scheme, which will force rail companies to pay out for shorter delays.

Currently the starting point for compensation with most train operators is 30 minutes, though a few only offer it for delays of an hour or more (the minimum legal requirement).

Check out our Train Delays guide for more on how to make a claim.

How will the Delay Repay 15 scheme work?

This is basically an extension of the current Delay Repay scheme, and means passengers will have more opportunity to claim.

For delays of 15 to 29 minutes you'll get:

  • Single fare: 25% compensation.
  • Return fare: 25% of the affected leg of your journey.
  • Season ticket holders: A proportion of your ticket.

You'll be able to claim for these shorter delays in the same way you would for a 30+ minute delay, and the train companies will be updating their Delay Repay forms to include this new option.

When will my train company offer it?

The Department for Transport has pledged that this will be built into every rail franchise's contract by 2020.

The South Western, West Midlands and South Eastern franchises are set to be next to introduce the scheme.

How does the existing Delay Repay scheme work?

In the current scheme, which the majority of train companies have signed up to, the longer you're delayed, the more money you receive.

It allows passengers to claim regardless of what caused the delay, even if it wasn't the train company's fault.

Here's what you get:

  • Delays of 30 to 59 minutes: 50% of a single fare or 50% of the affected leg of the return fare.
  • Delays of 60+ minutes: 100% of a single fare or 100% of the affected leg of the return fare.
  • Delays of 120+ minutes: 100% of a single or return fare.

Season ticket holders can claim a proportion of their ticket.

How do I claim for a delay?

For full step-by-step info on how to claim, see our Train Delays guide, but in brief:

  • Keep hold of your tickets – you'll need to post them to the train company or scan them if applying online (it's much easier to claim with the original ticket).
  • Look up your train company and find out how much you can get back. (See individual firms' policies.)
  • Make a note of the delay and the reason for it. Request a claim form from the station, by phone, or visit your train company's website.
  • Apply within the time limit, typically 28 days (but check).
  • If you're rejected for compensation or a refund but still think you have a case, complain. If necessary, take your complaint to independent passenger watchdog Transport Focus.