Train Delays

How to claim if it's late or cancelled

Train delays are an occupational hazard for millions – and it's been worse in the past few months for many, due to widespread delays and cancellations caused by a major timetable shake-up.

Incredibly, two-thirds of passengers don't claim for delays, meaning millions of pounds are being left in the hands of the fat controllers. This guide shows you what your rights are and provides full help on how to get your money back.

In this guide

'I claimed £315 for a year's delays' – some inspiration before you begin

It can often be tempting to let train delays slide, but make no mistake – there can be big money in reclaiming, especially for frequently delayed commuters, who can rack up £100s in a year. Take Andy, for example, who tweeted us these pictures of two years' worth of claims. In 2015 he got £315 and he usually tops at least £250 annually.

... and they may pay out even if you're not entitled

Many have reported successfully claiming even when they're not strictly entitled to a refund – the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, says firms often pay out even when they don't have to.

Some have also found that if they've had a particularly poor journey and submitted a complaint along with their delay, the amount they get has been upped or even doubled.

My train company doubled the amount of compensation after days of delays due to flooding, which was a nice surprise – and once I was sent a £50 voucher for a complaint that took months to be answered.
- MSE Megan

Train delay need-to-knows

The specific rules around train delays can appear baffling at first, especially because each individual train operator has its own refund policy (see a full list of train firms' polices below). But don't be put off – claiming's straightforward when you know how.

The following need-to-knows apply in England, Scotland and Wales (we've more on Northern Ireland below), if your train's been delayed or cancelled and you still want to travel. If you don't want to travel, see how to get a full refund.

  1. Delayed? You can usually use your ticket to hop on another train, but check

    If the train you're booked on is delayed you should be able to get on a later one or take a different route, though it's important to check with station staff if you're unsure, as there may be some exceptions – particularly if the alternative route is run by a different train company.

    For example, if you're travelling from London Euston to Birmingham and your train's delayed, it might be quicker to go from Marylebone instead. You won't be able to go to a different destination, but you may be able to speed up your journey by changing the route.

    If after getting a different train you still arrive 30+ minutes late you should be able to claim for a delay. Alternatively, if you've already bought your ticket but decide not to travel, see how to get a full refund below.

    Quick questions

    • If your journey is split between two different trains, and the first is delayed so you miss the second, you can wait and get the next available train (with your ticket) or, if you take alternative transport, you can get a refund for the unused part of the journey.

    • If you've treated yourself to a first-class ticket and there's no first-class facilities available on your train or replacement train, you can get a refund for the difference in price between the first-class and standard-class ticket for the relevant part of your journey. You can do this at the ticket office where you arrive.

    • Delayed trains are often busier than those running on time. Instead of squishing into the aisles like sardines, it's tempting to move into first class if there's room. However, you can only do this if the train company allows it (it'll be announced if so). If you sit in first class without permission and get caught, you might be charged a penalty.

    • Passengers stranded because of circumstances deemed to be within the control of a train company (see what that covers here) should be taken to their destination, or provided with overnight accommodation, by any train company in a position to help, if it reasonably can. Keep hold of receipts if you have to pay anything extra.

      In practice, if a train isn't able to take passengers onto their destination, taxis are normally provided at no cost.

  2. Most can claim for a delay of 30+ minutes regardless of cause (and some even for 2+ mins)

    When determining how long the delay was, what counts is when you GET to your destination, not when the train LEFT.

    You'll need to claim from the train company which was running the delayed service, even if you booked via a different site, within 28 days of the delay.

    The type of delay you can claim for depends on whether the train company runs a Delay Repay scheme (which means it pays out regardless of whether the delay was its fault), or a less-generous old-style compensation scheme.

    • Under Delay Repay you get compensation for delays regardless of fault

      Most train companies now operate the Delay Repay system, and while the current threshold is a delay of 30+ minutes, a threshold of 15 minutes is being introduced between now and 2020. So far nine companies have brought the new limit in (see below) – here are all the companies that operate Delay Repay:

      • Greater Anglia
      • c2c (15-minute Delay Repay, also offers 2+ mins Automatic Delay Repay for smartcard holders)
      • Caledonian Sleeper
      • CrossCountry Trains
      • East Midlands Trains
      • Gatwick Express (15-minute Delay Repay)
      • Great Northern (15-minute Delay Repay, 15-minute Auto Delay Repay for smartcard holders)
      • Island Line (15-minute Delay Repay)
      • London Northwestern Railway (15-minute Delay Repay)
      • Northern (30-minute Automatic Delay Repay with advance tickets booked online. 15-minute Delay Repay will be introduced from December)
      • ScotRail
      • Southeastern
      • Southern (15-minute Delay Repay)
      • South Western Railway (15-minute Delay Repay)
      • Stansted Express
      • Thameslink (15-minute Delay Repay, 15-minute Auto Delay Repay for smartcard holders)
      • TransPennine Express
      • London North East (formerly Virgin East Coast)
      • Virgin Trains (30-minute Automatic Delay Repay with advance tickets booked online)
      • West Midlands Railway (15-minute Delay Repay)

        See the table below for the minimum refund you'll get.
    • For other firms without Delay Repay it depends on their rules – a few only let you claim for 60+ min delays if it's their fault, most are more generous.

      Some train companies don't currently operate a Delay Repay scheme. With these firms, the rules are less clear-cut, so it's important to check the full list of train firms' polices below.

      The bare minimum that train companies have to do is set out in the National Rail Conditions of Travel, which detail train travellers' rights and where those rights may be restricted. Firms only have to start paying out for delays of at least an hour, and only if the delay was their fault.
    • The following problems are deemed to be within the train company's control, even though some of these may be down to Network Rail. These issues mean you WILL be able to claim for any resulting delay:
       

      • Failure of points (sections of track that move at junctions).
      • Signal power failure.
      • Track circuit failure.
      • Telecoms failure.
      • Overhead line problems.
      • Buckled or broken railway tracks.
      Here's what isn't considered within the train company's control – with these, the rules say you WON'T be able to claim (though some companies may still let you):
       
      • Acts or threats of vandalism or terrorism.
      • Suicides or accidents involving trespassers.
      • Gas leaks or fires in line-side buildings (assuming it wasn't the fault of a train or rail service company or its staff).
      • Line closures at the request of police or emergency services.
      • Exceptionally severe weather conditions, as decided by the train operator. (If weather conditions aren't "exceptionally severe" and you're delayed, you should be able to get a refund although this is a grey area. It's not listed in the train company rules so therefore it's worth putting in a claim to see what you can get.)
      • Riots or civil commotion.
      • Fire, mechanical or electrical failure or a defect (except where this is caused by a train company or its staff, or as a result of the condition of a company's trains).

    It's important to note that these rules set out the bare minimum, and most companies which don't offer Delay Repay will still give you more than national rules stipulate.

    Use a clever tool to check how long you were delayed for

    If you need to double-check the length of a recent delay in order to claim, you can try using the nifty Recent Train Times website. It gets its data from Network Rail (though this doesn't necessarily mean the train firm will agree) for routes in England, Scotland and Wales (though it doesn't cover the London Underground).

    Its data goes back three months, but remember you need to claim for delays within 28 days.

    Simply select the stations you were travelling between, when you want data for and in the arrival time box, 'average and actual times'. It'll then show you when trains running then actually arrived. Watch our video for more.

  3. You'll usually get at least 50% of your fare back

    Regardless of whether your company uses Delay Repay or the old-style compensation, the minimum you should usually get back for a valid delay is 50% of the fare (or fare for that leg of the journey if you have a return ticket). On some Delay Repay routes, 25% compensation for delays of between 15 and 29 minutes is now being introduced.

    With a few companies which don't use Delay Repay, you'll need to wait longer than an hour before compensation kicks in.

    Here's the minimum you'll get for a company which uses Delay Repay (see the full list above of those which do):

    The minimum you'll get with Delay Repay

    DELAY MINIMUM YOU'LL GET BACK FOR A DELAY
    15-29 mins 25% of single fare back (1)
    30-59 mins 50% of single fare back
    60-119 mins 100% of single fare back
    120+ mins 100% of single or return fare back
    Season tickets 
    (15-29 mins)
    Proportionate: 1/40th of weekly ticket, 1/160th of monthly ticket, or 1/1856th of annual ticket(1)
    Season tickets 
    (30-59 mins)
    Proportionate: 1/20th of weekly ticket, 1/80th of monthly ticket, or 1/928th of annual ticket
    Season tickets 
    (60+ mins)
    Proportionate: 1/10th of weekly ticket, 1/40th of monthly ticket, or 1/464th of annual ticket
    (1) Currently only available on c2c, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Island Line, London Northwestern Railway, Southern, South Western Railway, Thameslink and West Midlands Railway.

    If the train company's not using a Delay Repay scheme, the bare minimum it has to offer according to the National Rail Conditions of Travel is set out in this table.

    The minimum refund you'll get without Delay Repay

    TICKET TYPE MINIMUM REFUND FOR 60+ MIN DELAY
    Single ticket 50% of the fare back
    Return ticket with delay on either outward or return journey 50% of the relevant portion of the fare back
    Return ticket with delay on both outward and return journey 50% of the fare back
    Season ticket Depends on firm's passenger charter

    Remember though, most of those that don't do Delay Repay will still offer more than the minimum, so see the full list of train firms' polices for details.

  4. You can claim for delays on almost all ticket types, even if you haven't got a ticket for a specific train

    If your train's delayed it's usually possible to claim regardless of whether you've an advance, off-peak or season ticket.

    The amount you'll get will be a percentage of how much you paid for the original ticket, and for most season ticket holders this will be worked out as a proportion of their weekly, monthly or annual ticket cost.

    There's one exception though – some season ticket holders who travel with a firm that uses the old-style compensation scheme can't claim for individual delays, and instead will automatically get money off for overall poor performance throughout the year, when they renew their season ticket. Check your train company's policy for more details.

  5. Affected by the timetable chaos? You could be due extra compensation

    If you had tickets for some Great Northern, Thameslink, Northern or TransPennine Express services and were hit by May's botched timetable overhaul, you may be able to claim back up to a month's travel costs.

    Whether you're eligible depends on the route you took, when you travelled and the kind of ticket you had. The amount you'll get will be worked out as a proportion of your fare, and in some cases this could be £100s.

    Here's how to find out if you're eligible and how to claim:

    • Northern season ticket holders & non-season ticket holders can claim NOW – there are two levels of compensation depending on when and where you travelled:

      - If you had a season ticket for four weeks between 1 April and 30 June, you can claim up to a month's travel. You'll need to provide evidence of four weeks of travel during this period on certain routes. Claim via the Northern website.

      - If you had a season ticket between 20 May and 30 June, you can get a refund for a week's travel. You'll need to provide evidence of one week of travel during this period – again, on eligible routes. Claim using the Northern website.

      - If you have 12+ days' of advance, anytime, multi-modal or railcard-discounted tickets for travel within a consecutive 28-day period between 1 April and 30 June on the most-affected routes, you could get a refund up to 20 days' worth of travel. You'll need to provide proof of travel. To check if you're eligible and claim, use the Northern website.

      -  If you have more than three days' worth of advance, anytime, multi-modal or railcard-discounted tickets for travel within a consecutive seven-day period between 20 May and 30 June on affected routes, you could get a refund up to five days' worth of travel. Again, you'll need to provide proof of travel. To check if you're eligible and claim, use the Northern website.

      The deadline to claim is Tuesday 4 December.
       

    • TransPennine Express season ticket holders & non-season ticket holders can claim NOW – if you travelled on disrupted routes (see map) between 20 May and 30 June, you're entitled to up to one week's worth of travel back.

      - If you held a season ticket for one week or more between 20 May and 30 June you're eligible to claim one week’s worth of travel back. You'll need to provide evidence of travel, such as a copy of your ticket. Claim via the TransPennine website.

      - If you held single, return, multi-modal or zonal tickets for at least three days (up to a maximum of five days) travel within a consecutive seven-day period between 20 May and 30 June you're eligible for 3-5 days' worth of travel back. Again, you'll need to provide proof of travel and claim using the special TransPennine Express compensation site.

      The deadline to claim is Tuesday 4 December.
       

    • Great Northern and Thameslink season ticket holders can claim NOW – the compensation scheme is happening in three phases. Part-time commuters will also be able to claim.

      - If you had a season ticket and travelled on a severely affected route between 20 May and 28 July, you should have been sent a letter or email confirming you're eligible to claim up to a month's travel back. Finalise your claim via the special compensation website by Friday 30 November (you'll need the letter/email, "unique code reference" and photo card handy).

      - If you had a season ticket and travelled on a severely affected route between 20 May and 28 July, and haven't been sent a letter or email, check you can claim using the eligibility checker. If you're eligible, click through and make your claim. (You're asked to provide as much evidence as possible to claim this way, eg, a scan/photo of your season ticket & photo card, ticket receipt if you no longer have your ticket etc.)

      - Non-season ticket holders will be able to claim compensation by Friday 30 November. Operator Govia Thameslink has yet to confirm the exact dates though, so keep an eye on the special compensation website. Compensation will be based on the cost of your ticket(s), so hold onto them and any other proof of travel. Check the Thameslink and Great Northern FAQs for more on compensation for those without a season ticket.

    The Department for Transport has confirmed that if you used Delay Repay to claim for individual delays during the periods above you are still able to claim extra compensation.

  6. You can claim cash or a cheque not just vouchers

    Passengers now have more choice over how their compensation is paid.

    On 1 October 2016, the National Rail Conditions of Travel, which set the minimum standards that train companies must abide by, were updated.

    They now say passengers must be offered at least one form of monetary compensation for a delay, such as a bank transfer, cheque or refund to your card, although companies can still offer rail vouchers as well.

    Where the delay was caused by the train company you also have the additional right to ask for a refund via your original payment method.

  7. You can now try to use the full clout of the law to claim for delays or shoddy onboard service

    Passengers now have another string to their bow if they suffer shoddy service when on the trains. Since October 2016, the Consumer Rights Act has applied to the rail industry, meaning you have more rights if things go wrong – but this is still new so there's no guarantee of success.

    In a nutshell, this means your train company should provide its service with "reasonable care and skill" – and if you've bought a ticket since 1 October 2016 and think the firm's failed to do this, you can complain and quote the Consumer Rights Act.

    This opens up the possibility of a broader range of claims than was previously allowed under the passenger charter and Delay Repay schemes – it could include complaints such as lack of seating, broken toilets or more minor delays. Info you're given about a service by the train firm should be binding too – eg, if it promised you Wi-Fi for the entire journey but didn't deliver, you could have a claim. To try this:

    • Contact the train company directly and quote the Consumer Rights Act. If you're arguing about poor service, quote the relevant section of the act (likely to be Section 49 – 'reasonable care and skill'). Explain what you're asking for (ie, a new ticket or a refund) and include any evidence or additional information you think is needed, such as pictures or tweets about the issue.

    • If the company refuses your claim... you can try to escalate it to an industry watchdog, such as Transport Focus, or an alternative dispute resolution scheme, if the company directs you to one it is signed up to.

    • If your claim's still turned down, your only option is going to court. This would probably be the small claims court, but you'll have to weigh up whether it's worth it. See our Small Claims Court guide for more info.

    It's worth noting too that the law only covers situations that are within the train company's control – and currently there's no clear definition of what exactly "reasonable care and skill" means.

    But while this is relatively uncharted territory and we haven't seen many successes yet, some are now having luck with this kind of complaint – eg, Marjorie emailed: "Complained about a member of staff and was given an open first-class ticket."

    Quick question

    • Under the Consumer Rights Act you can ask for:

      • A repeat 'performance' (ie, journey) if the service didn't match up to what was said or written. This may not be possible though if your ticket was for a specific time and date.

      • A price reduction, including a refund of up to the full price of the ticket.

      If you're given a refund, the company has 14 days from the date of agreeing to pay to refund you via your original payment method (unless you agree otherwise), and it can't charge you any fee or admin charge for this.

  8. 'I got £2,400 back on my Southern Rail season ticket' – can you claim via your card firm?

    A disgruntled Southern Rail commuter who successfully used credit card protection to claim back half his season ticket cost after poor service was all over the news at the start of last year.

    Card provider American Express agreed to the commuter's claim, which argued that as 50% of his trains had been delayed or cancelled he wanted a partial refund. See the Southern Rail passenger gets £2,400 refund MSE News story for more.

    Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you buy something costing between £100 and £30,000 and pay for it in part, or in full, with your credit card, your card provider's jointly liable with the retailer if something goes wrong.

    If you paid via debit card, there's an alternative scheme, chargeback, which asks for money from the supplier's (in this case the train company's) bank. Chargeback's a customer service promise, not a legal requirement though, and claims must usually be submitted within 120 days.

    Banks can sometimes choose to pay out via the chargeback scheme, even if you originally submitted a Section 75 claim, and it's not entirely clear if that's what happened in this case. Either way, if you paid on a credit card, try making a Section 75 claim first, as it's more powerful protection.

    How to try to claim

    Technically the rules say you can't submit a Section 75 claim if you've already claimed compensation by another route. However this is untested, so it could still be worth submitting a claim even if you've had compensation for individual delays from your train company. Here's what to try:

    1. Gather evidence. The stronger the evidence of the amount of delays you have, the better. The Office of Rail and Road has train delay data back to 2010, and your train company should have some data on its site.
    2. Work out how much you're asking for. The commuter requested a 50% refund because that's the proportion of his trains that were delayed, so you could follow this model.
    3. Contact your credit card provider. Ask for a Section 75 claim form. You may need to explain why you want to claim – use our Section 75 refunds guide for help.
    4. Submit your claim with all your evidence. Include every scrap of evidence.
    5. If refused, you can appeal. The Financial Ombudsman can overrule the decision. For how to appeal see our Section 75 guide.

    The method is similar for a debit card claim, but you must have tried to claim from the train company first. And if that fails you need to call your bank card provider and say you want to dispute the transaction. See our Chargeback guide for more info.

  9. Got a season ticket? Check if you're due even more at renewal

    Most season ticket holders (who've bought a month's or more travel) will be able to claim for individual delays, although some unlucky ones can't – see the full list of train firms' polices below.

    However those with a monthly or annual season ticket may also be able to claim free travel or a discount when they renew their ticket, if they've experienced what is known as 'sustained poor performance'. For example, MSE's former editor-in-chief Jason got £100+ from South Western Railway.

    The exact definition of this varies by train company (check below), but it's usually defined as something like 12 delay claims in a period of 20 working days, or if overall punctuality falls below a certain target.

    If you think you may be eligible to claim, you can check train delay data for the past three months using the Recent Train Times tool, or if you need to go back further you can use the Office of Rail and Road tool (but it can be a bit clunky).

    Some firms will automatically offer the discount if you renew your ticket within a certain number of days, but for others you will need to contact customer services. Contact your train company if unsure.

  10. Most companies WILL pay out for strikes

    Don't think a strike means the company won't pay out if you face a delay. If the company operates a Delay Repay scheme, and you're delayed at least 30 minutes, it'll pay out regardless of what caused the delay.

    It's worth noting though that TfL doesn't pay out for delays caused by strike action.

  11. You may struggle to claim for other losses

    The National Rail Conditions of Travel explicitly state that in the event of train delay or cancellation, firms won't cover any consequential losses – for example, if you've wasted theatre tickets or missed a flight. But it does say that companies will consider exceptional circumstances.

    So it could be worth trying to claim anyway, or explaining what happened to the company running the event you were visiting to see if it can help. You could also see if you're covered under travel insurance if you're on holiday.

  12. In Northern Ireland? The rules are different

    Train delay refunds in Northern Ireland are handled differently to in the rest of the UK. The National Rail Conditions of Travel don't apply here (though the Section 75 and Consumer Rights Act rules do).

    Confusingly Translink, which runs NI Railways, offers its own 'Delay Repay' scheme, but it doesn't work the same way it does in England, Scotland and Wales.

    Although the thresholds for delays are pretty much the same, compensation is paid in vouchers and you won't have the option of claiming cash instead. Crucially, you also CAN'T claim regardless of cause – Translink won't pay out if the delay is caused by security alerts, crime, extreme weather or anything outside its control.

    See the Translink refund policy below for more information.

Don't want to travel? Get a full refund

If your train's delayed or cancelled and you decide NOT to travel, the rules are much simpler (unless you're a season ticket holder):

If, after you've bought your ticket, you find your journey is going to be delayed (by any amount of time) or cancelled, you can ask for a full refund if you don't want to travel.

It's important to note that so long as you're not travelling on a season ticket, this rule applies even if your train's delayed only by a couple of minutes and you decide not to travel. Point 30.1 of the National Rail Conditions of Travel says:

If the train you intended to use is cancelled, delayed, or your reservation will not be honoured, and you decide not to travel, you may return the unused Ticket to the original retailer or Train Company from whom it was purchased, where you will be given a full refund with no administration fee being charged.

To get a refund for your unused ticket, you can head to a ticket office, call the train company or fill out a form online.

Quick questions

  • If you booked your tickets on a third-party website, such as RedSpottedHanky, you'll need to send your tickets back to it. (You have to do this within a certain timeframe. Usually you have 28 days to send your claim in and it'll take up to a further 28 days to be processed, but check the policy of the train company in question.)

  • If you've used any part of the ticket, you'll get less back. Check with the individual company exactly how much you can reclaim.

  • Whether you're travelling on an advance, off-peak or anytime ticket, if a train you're due to travel on is cancelled or delayed and you decide not to travel, you can still get a refund. (The only exception is season tickets.)

  • Passengers stranded because of circumstances deemed to be within the control of a train company (see what that covers here) should be taken to their destination, or provided with overnight accommodation, by any train company in a position to help, if it reasonably can. Keep hold of receipts if you have to pay anything extra.

    In practice, if a train isn't able to take passengers onto their destination, taxis are normally provided at no cost.

  • Almost certainly not. If your train's cancelled you'll be able to reclaim the cost of your train ticket. But if you choose to travel by another form of transport instead, the train company's highly unlikely to pick up the tab for that too.

    The train company may however provide a 'rail replacement service' such as a bus or taxi, which you would not expect to pay for.

    As a general rule, if you're stuck because of delays, always check with the train company what alternative transport or routes you can use for free to get to your destination.

  • If there are no problems with the trains and you simply decide not to travel because you've changed your plans – let's say you book tickets in advance for a day by the seaside and the weather's horrendous – you can sometimes get a refund, but it depends on your ticket. 'Super Advance' tickets, for example, are normally non-refundable in this situation.

    Some train companies also charge a £10 admin fee for refunds when you choose not to travel (though this won't apply if the train was cancelled or delays meant you didn't get it).

How to claim in less than 5 minutes

While the rules around refunds for train delays are complicated, submitting your claim is straightforward and quick to do. Just follow these five steps:

  1. Look up the train company running the service and find out how much you can get back. (See below for individual firms' policies.)

  2. Make a note of the delay and the reason for it (if you can't remember the length of the delay, use the Recent Train Times tool). Fill in the claim form – you can find it online or request one from the station or by phone.

  3. Keep hold of your tickets – you'll need to scan them if applying online or post them to the train company.

  4. Apply within the time limit of 28 days.

  5. If you're rejected for compensation or a refund but still think you have a case, complain – see more on what to do if your claim's rejected, including going to the watchdog Transport Focus, below.

Most season ticket holders can claim for individual delays, but the rules vary and it's also worth checking if you can claim for continual delays. See season ticket rules.

Quick questions

  • Some train companies are starting to offer automatic compensation payments when you're delayed. c2c for example automatically pays smartcard holders for delays of between two and 29 minutes, while Virgin pays compensation to those who booked an advance ticket on its west coast route, via its website or app, for delays of 30 mins or more, without them having to ask.

    More companies are due to start offering automatic compensation soon, but it's always worth checking the money paid matches what you were owed for a delay.

  • If you do lose your ticket, the next best thing is proof of purchase – preferably a receipt for the ticket. Failing that, you could try a booking number if you booked online or a credit card statement if you bought the ticket on plastic. There are no guarantees you'll be successful without the ticket, but according to rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road, virtually all train companies will accept alternative proof.

  • Just let the staff at the ticket barrier know that you need to keep your ticket to claim on it – if a ticket inspector hasn't done it already, they'll date-stamp it to show it's been used. 

  • If it's a refund for a cancelled train, you should be able to get a refund at the station and it'll be paid back to you in the way you paid for it – so if you paid in cash, you'll get cash back. But if you want a refund for a delay, you'll need to apply for one and it'll take up to 28 days.

  • If you've not yet got your tickets and you're collecting them from the station, you'll still be able to claim. It might be your train has been cancelled and you don't bother picking up the tickets. Or it might have been delayed and you decide to drive instead. You'll be able to get a refund by using your booking reference.

  • It's a slightly different story if you buy tickets via a third-party website such as   RedSpottedHanky or Trainline.

    For delays, you'll need to contact the train company you travelled with. Though if your train was cancelled and you're after a refund for an unused ticket, go back to the third party you bought your ticket from. It will usually handle the refund for the unused ticket and you should get a full refund as you would if you'd gone to the train company directly (always check the small print).

    You'll need to print and fill out a form from the relevant website and send this along with the original tickets. Watch out for admin fees though. RedSpottedHanky charges £10, while Trainline doesn't charge admin fees, but won't refund booking and card fees.

  • There are a number of apps out there which promise to help you claim for delays – but they often charge a monthly fee or take a cut of the compensation you receive.

    They generally ask you to upload a picture of your ticket and add a few details so they can then fill in the train company's form for you.

    Claiming for train delays is free and straightforward so you shouldn't need to use paid-for apps, but some say they find them useful as they streamline the process and help them get money back for delays they otherwise wouldn't bother to claim for. So you have to decide if you think they're worth it.

    We currently have little feedback on train delay apps so please let us know what you think in the Train Delays forum thread if you decide to use one.

Refund policies by train company

Click on each firm below to read its refund policy in full, including how much it offers for different kinds of tickets from single to season tickets. These policies may change from time to time, so always check – we last updated this list in June 2018.

Remember: there's no harm in asking for more compensation, especially if the consequences of the delay were severe. This is just the minimum each company offers.

  • @greateranglia

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of ticket price. 60 mins or more? 100%. 
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 25% of the full fare back. 60-119 mins? 50%. 120 mins or more? 100%
    Season ticket: Hybrid system – the same rules apply as above for one-off delays, but it uses the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You can get additional compensation for sustained poor performance, which is delays of more than 30 mins on 12 out of 20 working days per 28-day period. If this happens, choose from two free journeys on the network valid for 12 months, or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used on any network.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 600 7245. Fill it in and send back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @ArrivaTW

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of ticket price. More than 60 mins? 100%. You could get more for delays over two hours.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 25% of the full fare back. More than 60 mins? 50%. On delays of over two hours, the compensation may be further increased
    Season ticket: Compensation for season ticket holders is worked out as a proportion of the ticket cost, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, or 1/464th of an annual ticket. If punctuality or reliability falls below standards set out in the passenger charter, you'll get a 5% discount on monthly season ticket renewal or a 10% discount if punctuality and reliability performance falls below average. Annual season tickets holder can get extra discounts to take it up to 16%.
    How to claim: Fill in and submit the form online, or pick one up from a station and send it back with your tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.
     

  • @c2c_Rail

    Min delay time: Two minutes.
    Smartcards: Customers with smartcards will automatically get 3p per minute for every delay between two and 14 minutes (refunded to their cards). After 14 minutes the rules below apply.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of ticket price. 30-59 mins? 50%. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 15-29 mins? 12.5% of the return ticket cost. 30-59 mins? 25% of the return ticket cost. 60 mins or more? 50% of the return ticket cost. Over 120 Mins? You will get 100% of your return ticket refunded
    Season ticket: Hybrid system – the same rules apply as above for one-off delays, but the journey cost is worked out as a proportion of the ticket cost so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, or 1/464th of an annual ticket. Monthly and annual ticket holders can get additional compensation for sustained poor performance, which is delays of more than 30 minutes on eight or more working days per 28-day period. If this happens, choose from two free journeys on the network valid for 12 months, or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used on any network.
    How to claim: Collect a form from a station, fill it in and send back with the tickets, or fill in a form online. Alternatively, write or email customer services directly. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @Calsleeper

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of ticket price. 60-119 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 25% of the fare back. 60-119 mins? 50% of the fare. 120 mins or more? 100%.
    Season ticket: Not available on this route.
    How to claim: Form available on trains and at main stations or online. Fill it in and send it back with your tickets. Alternatively, apply online. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @chilternrailway

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of ticket price. 60 mins or more? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of the relevant fare back. 60 mins or more? 100% of the relevant fare back.
    Season ticket: Calculated using the cost of an anytime single fare for the journey and the length of the delay. If peak punctuality or reliability fall below an average of 92% or 99% respectively, season ticket holders will also get a 5% discount on renewal. If neither criteria is met, they get a 10% discount.
    How to claim: Get a form from a staffed Chiltern Railways station, download an online form, print it out, fill it in and post it back with the tickets, or claim online. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @crosscountryuk

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of the ticket price. 60 mins or more? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of affected leg of the journey. 60-119 mins? 100% of the affected leg of the journey. If either leg of the journey is delayed by more than two hours, you will get 100% of the cost of the return ticket.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys – see the rules above. The value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/130th of a quarterly ticket, or 1/464th of an annual ticket. If there is a period of poor performance, CrossCountry will consider compensating season ticket holders.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0844 811 0124. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @EMTrains

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of the single ticket cost. 60 mins or more? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of the affected part of the journey. 60-119 mins? 100% of the relevant part of the journey. 120 mins or more? 100% of the whole fare.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys as per the rules above. The cost of your single ticket is worked out as: price of weekly season ticket divided by 10; price of monthly season ticket divided by 40; price of annual season ticket divided by 464. East Midlands will consider more for sustained poor performance.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 712 5678. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger charter for more details.

  • @EurostarUK

    Min delay time: 60 minutes.
    Claim within: Up to 12 months of your original travel date. If you've seen in advance there are delays and decide not to travel, you can also change your ticket to travel within 120 days for free, or within 90 days if your booking involves onward travel with another train ticket.
    Single ticket: Delayed 60-119 mins? 25% of the ticket via refund or Eurostar voucher. 120-179 mins? 50% via refund or voucher. More than 180 mins? 50% via refund, 75% via voucher.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 60-119 mins? 25% of affected leg of journey via refund or Eurostar voucher. 120-179 mins? 50% of affected leg of your journey via refund or voucher. More than 180 mins? 50% of affected leg via refund, 75% via voucher.
    How to claim: You need to wait 24 hours after you arrive at your destination before claiming. Contact the traveller care team online or by phone on 03432 186 186. See the passenger's charter for more details or check its website.
     

  • @GCRail

    Min delay time: 60 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 60-120 mins? 50% of the fare back. 120-180 mins? 75% back. More than 180 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delay on either journey of between 60 and 120 mins? 50% of the relevant portion of the fare back. Between 120 and 180 mins? 75% of the affected part back. More than 180 mins? 100% of the relevant part of the journey back.
    Season ticket: Not available on this route.
    How to claim: Send an enquiry online, or get a form from a station or by phone on 0345 603 4852. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @GatwickExpress

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of ticket price. 30-59 mins? 50%. 60 mins or more? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 15-29 mins? 25% of the affected journey back. 30-119 mins? 50% of the affected journey. 120 mins or more? 100% of the total fare paid.
    Season ticket: The same percentages apply as above, but the value of a single journey is calculated as being 1/10 the total price of a weekly season ticket, 1/40 the total price of a monthly season ticket, 1/120 the total price of a quarterly season ticket, and 1/464 the total price of an annual season ticket. If a season ticket holder is delayed by 30 mins or more for 12 or more days in a four-week 'reporting' period, they can also claim two free return journeys on the network (to be taken within 12 months) or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used between the stations for which their season ticket is valid.
    How to claim: Get a form online, print it out, fill it in and send it back with the tickets, or apply online. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @GWRHelp

    Min delay time: 60 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 60-119 mins? 100% of the fare back.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 60-119 mins? 50% of the cost of the return ticket. More than 120 mins? 100%.
    Season ticket: For weekly season tickets the rules above apply, but for monthly and annual tickets you'll get a 5% discount off your next season ticket if either punctuality or reliability falls below standards set out in the passenger charter. If both criteria fail you'll get a 10% discount.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 7000 125. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.
     

  • @GWRHelp

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: You get 50% of the fare back if you're delayed by more than 30 minutes (on journeys of less than an hour) or if you're delayed by an hour or more (if your journey is an hour or more).
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey more than 30 mins on a 30 minute journey, or an hour on a journey at least an hour long? 50% of the fare back.
    Season ticket: For weekly season tickets the rules above apply, but for monthly and annual tickets you'll get a 5% discount off your next season ticket if either punctuality or reliability falls below standards set out in the passenger charter. If both criteria fail you'll get a 10% discount.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 7000 125. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.
     

  • @GWRHelp

    Min delay time: 60 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 60-119 mins? 50% of the fare back. More than 120 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 60-119 mins? 25% of the fare back. More than 120 mins? 100%.
    Season ticket: For weekly season tickets the rules above apply, but for monthly and annual tickets you'll get a 5% discount off your next season ticket if either punctuality or reliability falls below standards set out in the passenger charter. If both criteria fail you'll get a 10% discount. For annual season ticket holders, you could get a further 16% discount depending on the punctuality and reliability triggers.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 7000 125. Fill it in, request either a cheque or vouchers and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @GNRailUK

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of the fare back. 30-59 mins? 50% back. More than 60 mins? 100% back.
    Return ticket: Delay on either journey of between 15 and 29 mins? 25% of the affected portion of the journey refunded. 30 and 59 mins? You'll get 50% of the relevant fare portion back. Between 60 and 119 mins? 50% of the cost back. More than 120 mins? You'll get 100% back.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket, or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You can get additional compensation for sustained poor performance, which is delays of more than 30 minutes on 12 or more days out of the month. If this happens, choose from two free journeys on the network per period when performance targets aren't met, or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used on any network.
    How to claim: You can claim online or send original tickets or a photograph/scan of them, plus any other details, or post. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @HeathrowExpress

    Min delay time: More than 15 mins.
    Single ticket: Delayed more than 15 mins? 50% of ticket price back. More than 30 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed more than 15 mins? 50% of the relevant portion of the journey back. More than 30 mins? 100% of the relevant portion of the journey back.
    Season ticket: Not available on this route.
    How to claim: Form available online. Download it, print it, fill it in and post it to Heathrow Express (for free) with your tickets. Alternatively, claim online. See the conditions of carriage for more details.

  • @Hull_Trains

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of the ticket price. 60-119 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of the affected portion of the journey. 60-119 mins? 100% of the affected part of the journey. Over 120 mins? 100% of whole ticket.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys – see the rules above.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 0264077. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.
     

  • @SW_Help

    Min delay time:
    15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of the ticket back. Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% back. Delayed 60 mins or more? 100% back.
    Return ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins on either journey? 25% of the ticket for the affected journey back. Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% back. Delayed 60-119 mins? 100% back. Delayed 120 mins or more? 100% of the cost of the return ticket back.
    Season ticket: The same percentages apply as with single tickets, but the value of a single journey is calculated as being 1/10 the total price of a weekly season ticket, 1/40 the total price of a monthly season ticket, 1/120 the total price of a quarterly season ticket, 1/240 the total price of a six-monthly season ticket and 1/464 the total price of an annual season ticket. If you purchased your season ticket before 4 Sept 2017, you may be entitled to further compensation – see pages 20-26 of the passenger's charter for more info.
    How to claim: Collect a form from a staffed South Western Railway station, download a form online, print it, fill it in and post it off with the tickets, or apply online or via the SWR app. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @LNER

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of ticket price. 60 mins or more? 100% back.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of the relevant portion. 60-119 mins? 100% of the relevant journey. 120 mins or more? 100% of the whole return ticket.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys – see the rules above. The cost of your single ticket is worked out as: price of weekly season ticket divided by 10; price of monthly season ticket divided by 40; price of annual season ticket divided by 464. If there is a period of poor performance, Virgin will consider compensating season ticket holders.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 03457 225 333. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @LNRailway

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of ticket price back. 30-59 mins? 50%. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: If delayed on either journey for 15-29 mins, you'll get 12.5% of your fare back; if it's between 30 and 59 mins you'll get 25% back. 60-119 mins? 50%. Two hours or more and you'll get 100% of the return ticket.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys, with the value of each journey based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket as follows – 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket and 1/464th of an annual ticket.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station or online, or apply using the app. For postal claims you'll need to send off original tickets (or a photocopy if you're a season ticket holder) and for online claims you'll need to include a clear photo of your tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @LDNOverground

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed more than 30 mins? You'll get a refund for a single journey.
    Return ticket: The same rules apply as for a single journey.
    Season ticket: The same applies – you'll be refunded the price of the single journey if you're delayed for more than 30 mins.
    How to claim: If you travelled with an Oyster card, paper ticket, key card or c2c smartcard, you'll need to apply for the refund via your Oyster online account or sign up for one. Or you can call Transport for London (TfL) customer services on 0343 222 1234. See the TfL website for further details. The compensation is automatically refunded to your Oyster, debit or credit card.

  • @TfL

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed more than 15 mins? You'll get a refund for a single journey.
    Return ticket: The same rules apply as for a single journey.
    Season ticket: The same applies – you'll be refunded the price of the single journey if you're delayed for more than 15 mins.
    How to claim: If you travelled with an Oyster card, paper ticket, key card or c2c smartcard, you'll need to apply for the refund via your Oyster online account or sign up for one (though the Train Reclaim tool will do it automatically for you). Or you can call Transport for London (TfL) customer services on 0343 222 1234. See the TfL website for further details. The compensation is automatically refunded to your Oyster, debit or credit card. See our Tube Delay Refunds guide for full help.

  • @Merseyrail

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed by 30 mins or more? 100% of the cost back if journey is entirely on the Merseyrail Northern or Wirral line. If it involves other lines, but you're delayed on the Merseyrail network, you may still be able to get 20% back.
    Return ticket: Delayed by 30 mins or more? 50% of the cost back if your journey's entirely on the Merseyrail Northern or Wirral line. If it involves other lines, but you're delayed on the Merseyrail network, you may still be able to get 20% back.
    Season ticket: Weekly season ticket holders can claim a "percentage of the cost" back if delayed by 30 mins or more. Other season ticket holders can't claim for delays to individual journeys. They do get a 5% refund if the Merseyrail's performance figures drop below 91.9%. If they drop below 90% it's a 10% refund. Figures are published in its passenger charter.
    How to claim: Download an online form, print it out, fill it in and post it off (for free) with the tickets, or take both the form and the tickets to a staffed Merseyrail station. Alternatively, claim online. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @northernassist

    Min delay time: 30 minutes. (15 minutes from December - see the MSE News story for full info.)
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of your fare back or a free single ticket to anywhere on the network. More than 60 mins? 100% back or two single tickets.
    Return ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of the relevant fare portion back. 60-119 mins? 100% of the relevant fare. More than 120 mins? 100% back or two return tickets.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You may also get extra compensation if there is a period of sustained poor performance.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station or download one online and send it back with the tickets. You can also call 0333 222 0125 or fill in your details on the Northern website. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @ScotRail

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of your fare back. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 25% of ticket cost. 60-119 mins? 50% of ticket cost. 120 mins or more? 100%.
    Season ticket: Same as above but the refund will be worked out as a proportion of your ticket. ScotRail will also consider extra refunds if there is a period of poor performance.
    How to claim: Fill in a form online or using the ScotRail mobile app. Alternatively, collect a form from a station, fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @SW_Help

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of your fare back. 30-59 mins? 50%. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 15-29 mins? 12.5% of your fare back. 30-59 mins? 25%. 60-119 mins? 50%. 120 mins or more? 100%.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket, 1/240th of a six-monthly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket.
    How to claim: Fill in a form online, a grab one form from a station or by phone on 0345 6000 650. Fill it in, request either vouchers or compensation and send back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @SE_Railway

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of your fare back. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 25% of the return fare back. 60-119 mins? 50% of return fare. 120 mins or more? 100%.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You can get additional compensation for sustained poor performance, which is delays of more than 30 minutes on 12 or more days out of the month. If this happens, choose from two free journeys on the network per period when performance targets aren't met, or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used on any network.
    How to claim: Apply online or collect a form from a station. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @SouthernRailUK

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of the fare. 30-59 mins? 50% of the fare paid. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 15-29 mins? 25% of the affected portion of the journey refunded. 30-59 mins? 50% of the affected portion of the journey refunded. 60-119 mins? 100% of the affected part of the journey refunded. 120 mins or more? 100% of the ticket cost back.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You can get additional compensation for sustained poor performance, which is delays of more than 30 minutes on 12 or more days out of the month. If this happens, choose from two free journeys on the network per period when performance targets aren't met, or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used on any network.
    How to claim: Apply online or collect a form from a station. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @Stansted_Exp

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Claim within: Up to 28 days of your original travel date.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of the ticket. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 25% of the cost of your return ticket. 60-119 mins? 50%. More than 120 mins? 100%.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket.
    How to claim: Fill out the form online. See the Passenger's Charter for more details.

  • @TfLRail

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed more than 30 mins? You'll get a refund for a single journey. More than 60 minutes? 50% of the fare (if higher than the single journey refund).
    Return ticket: Delayed more than 30 minutes? You'll get the cost of a single journey. More than 60 minutes? 50% of the fare for the relevant portion. If delayed on both legs you get 50% back (if higher than the single journey refund).
    Season ticket: The same applies – you'll be refunded the price of the single journey if you're delayed more than 30 mins.
    How to claim: If you travelled with an Oyster card, paper ticket, key card or c2c smartcard, you'll need to apply for the refund via your Oyster online account or sign up for one. Or you can call Transport for London (TfL) customer services on 0343 222 1234. See the TfL website for further details. The compensation is automatically refunded to your Oyster, debit or credit card.
     

  • @TLRailUK

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of the fare back. 30-59 mins? 50%. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of the affected portion of the journey refunded. 30-59 mins? 50% of the relevant fare portion back. 60-119 mins? 100% of the relevant leg of the journey back. More than 120 mins? 100% of the cost of the whole journey.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You can get additional compensation for sustained poor performance. If you experience delays of more than 30 minutes on 12 or more days out of the month, you can choose from two free journeys on the network per period when performance targets aren't met, or National Rail vouchers to the value of one single ticket to be used on any network.
    How to claim: Send original tickets or a photograph/scan of them, plus any other details, online or by post. For more information see the passenger charter.

  • @TPExpressTrains

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed more than 30 mins? 50% of fare back. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey more than 30 mins? 50% of the fare for the affected part of the journey back. More than 60 mins? 100% of the fare for the affected part of the journey. 120 mins or more? 100% of return ticket cost.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket. You'll also get a 5% discount off your next season ticket if punctuality or reliability falls below the trigger set out in the passenger charter. If both fail you'll get a discount of up to 10%.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 0345 600 1671. Fill it in and send it back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @Translink_NI

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of ticket price. 60-119 mins? 100%. More than 120 mins? You'll get the cost of a return ticket for that journey.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of the fare for that leg of the journey back. 60-119 mins? 100% of that leg. More than 120 mins? 100% of the full return ticket.
    Season ticket: Hybrid system – the same rules apply as above for one-off delays, but it uses the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, or 1/400th of an annual ticket. If punctuality or reliability falls below set standards, you'll get up to a 10% discount on renewal.
    How to claim: Get a form from a station, online or by phone on 028 90666630. Fill it in and send back with the tickets. See the passenger's charter for more details.

  • @VirginTrains

    Min delay time: 30 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 30-59 mins? 50% of your fare back. More than 60 mins? 100%.
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 30-59 mins? 50% of the relevant part of the fare back. More than 60 mins? 100% of the relevant part of the fare. More than 120 minutes? 100% of the return ticket.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim a proportion of their ticket cost for delays to individual journeys – so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket, 1/120th of a quarterly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket. Virgin will also consider extra compensation for a period of poor performance.
    How to claim: Apply online or collect a form from a station. See the passenger's charter for more details. Virgin Trains is now automatically compensating passengers who booked an advance ticket via its website or app, and says it will repay the money directly onto the payment card.
     

  • @WestMidRailway

    Min delay time: 15 minutes.
    Single ticket: Delayed 15-29 mins? 25% of the ticket. 30-59 mins? 50%. More than 60 mins? 100%
    Return ticket: Delayed on either journey 15-29 mins? 12.5% of the cost of your return ticket. 30-59 mins? 25%. 60-119 mins? 50%. More than 120 mins? 100%.
    Season ticket: Season ticket holders can claim for delays to individual journeys and the value of each single journey is based on the proportionate cost of the season ticket, so 1/10th of a weekly ticket, 1/40th of a monthly ticket or 1/464th of an annual ticket.
    How to claim: Fill out the form online or pick one up from a station. See the Passenger's Charter for more details.

Claim rejected? What to do next

Unfortunately there's no ombudsman for the train network. Unlike financial services or telecoms companies, no official body is in place to deal with complaints or force a train company into action.

So if you've submitted a claim and it's been turned down, your options are limited – but you can try the following.

Formally complain directly to the train company

If you're not happy with how your application for individual delay compensation has been handled, go directly to the train company in the first instance. Complain in writing, quoting the guidelines laid out in its passenger charter.

To do this you can use the free online complaints tool Resolver*, which will help you draft and manage your complaint. Or you can download our template letter, which you can adapt and post or email to your train company.

No luck? Escalate your complaint to Transport Focus

If you've sent your letter of complaint and the reply isn't up to scratch, you can try Transport Focus. It's an independent passenger watchdog which can take up your complaint and demand a proper response on your behalf.

If your complaint is about a journey within London and its surrounding areas, you'll need to escalate your complaint via London TravelWatch. You can check its map to see if your journey falls within its boundary.

It promises to look at every complaint sent, and it's more likely to be listened to than an individual passenger. However, it's a watchdog, not an ombudsman, and it has no actual power to force a train company to pay out if it's in the wrong.

Transport Focus also publishes past complaints data, so you can check how your train company is performing.

Use social media to shame the firm into action

Social media can be a good tool for getting in contact with a train company if other channels aren't working – and you might be able to use it to shame it into a response, or even get your money back. Several MoneySavers told us they use Twitter to give feedback and get up-to-date travel info from their train companies.

The train brakes "dropped" after a bang and a group of us clubbed together online to obtain a refund for the one-hour delay.
- Nick

@eastcoastuk were very helpful when there were probs with a trip to Leeds & advised me.
- Wendy

I always get a very prompt (and pretty helpful) response from Northern Rail.
- Jacqueline

All else failed? You could try going to court – but only in extreme cases

If you're still not able to resolve your complaint, the only other avenue open to you is the small claims court. But this is only for exceptionally rare circumstances – in fact, we've never heard any examples of passengers going down this route, and neither has Transport Focus.

For more info – including likely costs – see our Small Claims Court guide. If you do have success with this route, please let us know.

Have you used this guide to claim for a train delay? 

Please give us feedback and suggest improvements in the Train Delays forum thread.

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