How train delays paid towards my games console

Commuting’s not often associated with saving money, but if like me you frequently experience delays to your journey, I’m here to tell you there’s a way to reclaim some of your hard-earned cash via the ‘Delay Repay’ compensation scheme, which most rail companies now run. Read on to find out how I did it, and which games console I spent the money on.

All manner of circumstances can cause commuter delays, from a cold weather snap to a heatwave - like me, train tracks don't enjoy temperature extremes! And let’s not forget leaves on the track. While delays can’t always be helped, paying increasingly high fares only to be left running late definitely takes the biscuit. Speaking of biscuits, I'm glad I always have them in my bag, as in 2018 I beat my personal record for delays.

We are sorry to announce...

It's the announcement nobody wants to hear, as it means you're going to be late to work or (arguably) even worse, home. 2018 wasn't a good year for train travel, and while the line I commute on (London Northwestern railway, formerly London Midland) wasn't involved in any chaos disrupted by the introduction of new timetables, chaos and trains go hand in hand for me, except when I visit Japan each year, where I enjoy the extremely punctual and clean train system instead.

But just because you've already paid for your train ticket doesn't mean you have to lose out if there’s a delay. On many train lines, Delay Repay enables you to claim for delays of 30+ minutes (or 15+ in some cases, or in one case even 2+) regardless of cause – so I do, every time. See our Train Delays guide  for information on your line and how much other people have managed to reclaim.

I reclaimed over £200

I’m a part-time commuter, but in 2018 I clawed back £223.18 from 28 delays of over 13 hours. It’s worth noting that even if you're delayed by 29 minutes it's still labelled as a 15-minute delay for payment purposes, but if we work it out based on that, I got paid about £17 per hour I was delayed. That's not bad at all, and definitely worth claiming.

Generally you need to fill out a claim form, although you can usually tick a box so the train line's website remembers your details, making it quicker to claim the next time you’re delayed. However, some companies offer automatic compensation payments - when a Virgin train I was due to travel on was cancelled and there wasn't another for an hour, I was automatically refunded the total cost of my ticket. Splendid!

I've not included money I claimed back following tube delays as I use the London Underground system infrequently, but it’s worth checking out our Tube Delays guide for info on how to claim and how to automate your claims - I much prefer an automated claiming system.

What I bought with the money

As you've read, I spend my holidays in Japan, so you might have guessed that I chose to spend the Delay Repay money on a Nintendo Switch Pokémon edition console. If you’re not into gaming, it’s a hybrid system that doubles as a home console that plugs into a TV and a portable one for gaming on the go. I used a coupon code (of course) to cut the cost from £339.99 to £289.99 and I bought it on eBay to get Nectar points, too. See our Loyalty Points Boosting guide for tips on how to use your points if you're saving them, like me.

Ok, so, £223 might not have paid for the whole console, but it covered a good chunk of it, and selling items I no longer needed on eBay in 2018 paid for the rest. Check our eBay Selling guide for tips on how to make the most of your unwanted stuff. Oh, and I also claimed £150 using Delay Repay in 2017 - which I used to buy gig tickets to see A Perfect Circle and a few other less exciting things like food!

Perhaps now you're thinking, "why waste money on a games console?" Well, I need something to do when my trains are delayed, don't I?

Do you think claiming Delay Repay's worth it? Have you claimed more than me in the past year? Let me know in the comments below, on Twitter @MSE_Deals or on Facebook.