/ Travel & Leisure

Update: win! Rail passengers will be able to claim for 15 minute delays

Delay Repay

Millions of delayed rail passengers will benefit from a change to ‘Delay Repay’ compensation, with the announcement of a threshold move to offer rail ticket refunds for journeys delayed by 15 minutes. Will this help you?

In a win for our Make Rail Refunds Easier campaign, today the government has announced that it will finally act on its promise to improve compensation for delayed rail passengers.

Soon rail passengers will be entitled to claim 25% of the cost of a single fare for delays between 15 and 29 minutes.

Delay Repay

The existing compensation scheme for delayed rail services, so-called ‘Delay Repay’, only allows compensation for delays over 30 minutes with passengers able to claim for 50% of the single fare for a delay 30 to 59 minutes.

This should be especially welcome news for Southern passengers, who will be one of the first to benefit from the new ‘Delay Repay 15’ scheme within the next few months.

Rail passengers deserve to get the service they pay for. We’ve long been calling for additional compensation for Southern passengers, so this is the very least they can expect following the poor service they’ve received from the train company – all the while issues on Southern services remain unresolved.

Delay Repay 15 will be rolled out in stages, after Southern the scheme will then be introduced on South Western, West Midlands and South Eastern franchises, followed by rest of the country.

However, it’s uncertain as to how long the roll out will take. The government is looking into opportunities to introduce the new scheme before franchises are renewed; this means that passengers may only be eligible for 15 minute delay claims from train companies that are currently part of the ‘Delay Repay’ system.

Rail ticket refunds for poor rail services

The pressure is now on train companies to give passengers clear information on how to claim for delays as well as for poor service, which passengers are now also entitled to claim for under the Consumer Rights Act. We’ve created a free tool for you to use to help you claim for a poor train service.

Update: 24 August 2017

As previously mentioned, Southern passengers were the first to get Delay Repay 15 back in December 2016. Well, Southern’s owner, Govia Thameslink Railways (GTR), has now gone one step further to ease the process of claiming compensation.

GTR will be the first rail franchise owner to give compensation for 15 minutes automatically. It has introduced a system that automatically compensates passengers using a ‘smartcard’ for delays of 15 minutes or more. Passengers traveling on Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick express will also benefit from this.

So where one leads, others must follow…

This is great news for the select number of passengers travelling with smartcards on GTR lines, but what about everyone else? Claiming compensation should be easy for passengers and consistent across all train lines so passengers know their rights no matter which train company they travel with.

Do you want other train operators to introduce auto-compensation for 15 minute delays? How often are you delayed when travelling by train?


Be careful on compensation for delayed trains the rail companies will just build in longer journey times as they have done before. The existing journey times need to be logged as the base i.e. current journey times

Malcolm says:
18 October 2016

Great news let’s see what the train companies do now to improve performance,they might just increase the time table.better still if they gave us refunds in cash instead of travel vouchers

Eloise says:
18 October 2016

Good news – I hope this will an incentive for rail companies to improve. Though I doubt many people will claim compensation for short journeys.
For example in London ‘pay as you go’ train users will get a refund of 25% of ticket price if they’re delayed 15 minutes. There’s some admin involved (e.g. uploading statements) so if your ticket costs say £2.50, this is going to deter commuters from claiming refunds worth 60p – in comparison, tube commuters get 100% refund for a 15 minute delay. Still a way to go but I hope we all get a better service.

It appears Greater Anglia have increased the journey times for my daily commute! Where the journey from Shenfield to Liverpool Street used to be approx. 23/24 mins has now increased to 29/30 mins for my morning train – Another way of trying to escape paying compensation for delays. Also the online claim form requires far more detail to complete now.
The GA line has progressively got worse with relatively old non air conditioned overcrowded trains yet still one of the most expensive to use. Had enough, looking to work local now.

It’s a rule of government and governing, privatise a market after introducing the perception that said market is inefficient, sell it to your mates in the city for pennies on the pound, and then split the market into six to eight service providers, who provide incomparable pricing structures, who are ALL UNIVERSALLY, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, UTTERLY S**T! And never EVER forget the golden rule! Let the people”without”pay MORE for LESS, while contributing to the coffers, of those who have more than enough already, and GOOD FORBID they pay the same rate of tax as those AFOREMENTIONED “WITHOUTS”. Some would call this a cartel. We’ll sell it as increased competition!!!

. . . err, not quite, Steven. The government of the day went to considerable trouble to make the privatisation share-sales appeal to Joe Public [or Sid in the case of the gas industry], and it was ordinary citizens who bought most of them in small parcels. The fact that they then stagged them to city slickers was no doubt foreseeable but impossible to avoid given the popular mood at the time.

Abelio replaced by a new franchise – leads to even more complications for claiming delay repay
Should be called delay and delay and delay repay with still no explanation of compensation calculation and no way of seeking transparency.
Why do commuters have to fill in 3+ pages of information each and every time services are disrupted? If disputed why is there no easy escalation?
Really close to seeking support for a group remedy as the service is not fit for purpose

Richard Bailey says:
22 October 2016

Richard Bailey
I to have just received the which survey, and have just read all your comments.
I am a member of a party that wants to bring back a cheaper railway and better services,a party that wants renewable energy a priority to give millions work from the Infrastructure in fabricating,constructing & supplying a n average rateable cost to suit all.
A party that would save the NHS by setting up a NHS lottery,so instead of British monies going abroad to a Canadian pension fund,it would all be filtered into our Health,Care & our Pension funds.
A Education system that teaches all skills along with the 3 Rs , and where pupils will from 16 upwards will learn the skills needed to supply our country’s work force needs,a from school to work programe.

But only you “the people of this country” has a democratic vote to change your and others lifestyle, and by saying to yourselves I need to get off my A ### and put a cross on a peace of paper that takes a few minutes to give you the above.
No matter who you vote for just ask yourselves will my X really get me the things that matter and don’t listen to much to the media papers that only wants Capitalisum that makes the bankers and conglomerates filthy rich,but a quiet man with a game plan for all walks of life to be able to afford rent,mortgage heating,transport ect,ect.

So I ask you to believe in the centre left that believes in you. Sleep on this please

I can certainly support the priority need for a much more effective education system, Richard, but am not so sure about some of your other ideas. The country did exercise its democratic rights nearly eighteen months ago so the government has its mandate until 2020.

Edit : I have belatedly realised that this little discussion really belongs in the parallel Conversation entitled “Could a government-led consumer strategy smarten up our essential services?”.

Gordon Murray says:
22 October 2016

More pressure needs to be applied to ensure this is introduced across the UK by early next year.

Sack all of the useless companies who are robbing us! Get the trains to run on time ,like we did with the East Coast Main Line! Plus look at the money given back to our country!

Latest excuse for not paying for a delayed journey:
Thank you for your Delay Repay claim for your journey between Shenfield and London Liverpool Street on 20/10/2016 at 08:16.

The train that delayed your journey was not one of ours.

We understand this may be disappointing and if you feel that we have miscalculated your delay or that any of the journey information you originally supplied is incorrect then please log on to your journey history to view your options.


Delay Repay Team
Greater Anglia
GA are denying the train was ‘one of theirs’!

You couldn’t make it up

Well it probably wasn’t a Greater Anglia train, Steve.

The ‘metro’ services between Shenfield and London Liverpool Street, that were formerly operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, were taken over by Transport for London in May 2015 and now operate under the interim brand of ‘TfL Rail’ before becoming integrated into the new Crossrail service at the end of next year.

Greater Anglia might have had the decency to tell you that rather than just leaving a vacant space – that sort of silo mentality is what upsets people about the fragmented railway system.

Richard says:
28 October 2016

Why do season ticket holders get such a bad compensation deal? If you are not renewing your season ticket you get no compensation at all !
Surely that can’t be right ?

I guess it’s just the rub of the green with having a season ticket, Richard. The railway companies regard commuters as captives and treat them accordingly. Their attitude has been that season tickets are so heavily discounted there is no justification for direct refunds in the event of a significant and repetitive delays. This might change under the government-promoted scheme whereby automatic refunds will be credited to passengers’ bank accounts which some train operators are already trialling. I am not sure how well this works for season ticket-holders. I think the government has woken up to the fact that there are votes in this, and other aspects of the railway service, and are starting to crack the whip with the train operators. Whatever one thinks of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigning style, he knows where the electors’ nerves are and how to identify with their concerns. One of the things I was hoping for under the new Prime Minister was a less aloof attitude to the genuine concerns of ordinary people. We’ve had the fine words – we now await the evidence of action.

It’s complicated working out who to claim from. Journey involved 3 different companies, 2 trains ran late, I’m expected to work out which caused greatest delay ( both caused missing final train) and claim from that company. It should be possible to just claim from the ticket seller, In “normal” retailing that’s who my “contract ” is with ?

Why is there a 28 day deadline for making claims? I have an annual season ticket. I was delayed. It sometimes takes Southern months to actually process a claim so why do I have to submit within 28 days or lose out?

The East Anglian network has just 2 or 3 weeks ago started a new 9 year franchise under the banner of ‘Greater Anglia’, just dropping the word ‘Abellio’ from the front. But still no mention on their website of any 15 minute threshold for delay repay: regardless of what kind of ticket used.
Does anyone know when the ’15 minute delay rule’ commences for Greater Anglia ?

No announcement has been made yet, Robert. The DfT’s franchise process did not require tenderers to include for a fifteen minute delay so it was not priced into the bid and will have to be negotiated subsequently. The government only brought the fifteen minute proposal out very recently after the appointment of a new rail minister [Paul Maynard] following the resignation of the previous one [Claire Perry] who never mentioned it even when addressing a meeting in Norwich about the planned improvements in rail service. Given the state of the East Anglian rail network I can’t see the reduced time threshold coming in before the train company and Network Rail are more confident that there will be very few claims under it.

Thank you John. Well have just suffered another eye watering 2 hour plus delay last night on Greater Anglia, I can well understand the lack of confidence you mention. If anyone is waiting for any senior person in the rail industry to put their head above the parapet & say ‘ OK we’re ready for 15 min delay threshold ‘ then dream on. It’ll never happen without being imposed.

I tried to tell someone from East Midlands train about the new rules regarding 15 minute delays and they knew nothing about it, they asked their supervisor and he also knew nothing about and that was someone in the delay repay section….so when are east midlands going to start paying out for 15 minute delays and how is it that the staff in the repayment section are so clueless…i also sent an email to the get in touch email address with links to this ruling and they haven’t bothered to reply so that shows how much they care about customer service.

Hello Tony, the change to the threshold will be rolled out in a staggered process starting with Southern Rail. On 11 December Southern passengers will be able to claim for delays of 15-29 mins. A date for when other train companies will apply this hasn’t yet been confirmed.

Compensation is only paid to season ticket holders who renew their season ticket. What happens if you don’t want to renew? You get no compensation.
Surely that can’t be right?

And when a franchise changes hands and a new train operating company takes over, does the new company inherit the compensation liabilities?

Perhaps there is a compensation application process for people who do not renew their season ticket.

Northampton, with a population now of 220,000 and growing rapidly, is desperate for a cross rail link. Reinstating the 21 miles to Bedford would achieve that and create a direct Thameslink extension – St Pancras – Luton Airport – Bedford – Northampton – Rugby – Coventry.

Phantomzone says:
18 December 2017

Why is GWR only offering 30minute+ delays? This 15 minute rule is not offered on their compensation page.

Train operating companies can choose the delay period for refunds, but over time these will be harmonised [at 15 minutes] as new franchises are awarded. Many of the journeys on the GWR are of two hours or more duration and the company is obviously concerned that a 15 minute delay period would lead to large compensation payouts. It also means that people making intermediate journeys will rarely qualify for a refund for delays to their journeys because, so far as I am aware, only the time on the train counts and there is no compensation for waiting for a late arrival.