/ Travel & Leisure

Win! Rail companies must avoid misleading us about compensation


Rail companies have finally updated their terms and conditions to ensure passengers aren’t put off of claiming compensation, including seeking reimbursement for consequential losses.

In case you didn’t know, the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) and common law give passengers the right to claim for reasonable and forseeable additional losses when a train operator has failed to provide the service with reasonable care and skill.

But last year, we shared the news with you that despite the CRA extending additional rights for rail travel, we’d spotted that train companies were still failing to comply

And so we took action. We wrote to the train companies and worked with the rail regulator to call on the industry and make sure passengers were aware of their rights to claim for these losses.

Fight for rail rights

We asked for train companies to comply by 1 March 2017. Despite our warnings and calls from passengers too, a number of train companies have failed to listen…

Rail rights delay

As mentioned, under the CRA and common law, rail passengers can claim for additional, consequential losses over and above the price of their train ticket if a journey has been disrupted because of a failure to deliver the service with reasonable care and skill.

This rule came into force in the rail industry on 1 October 2016, but the National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCoT) and rail companies failed to update their terms to better reflect this.

This latest change means that now, changes to the NRCoT (set to be published this weekend) should ensure passengers are not put off from claiming compensation, including for reasonable and foreseeable consequential losses.

Passenger power

We want to see train companies explicitly state on their websites and in their terms and conditions that passengers can claim for additional losses when faced with a delay or cancellation which is the train company’s fault.

While this is good news for rail passengers, we know the system is still complicated. We’re concerned that while train companies can now no longer hide behind misleading terms to avoid paying passengers, they need to go further and proactively inform passengers about their compensation rights.

If you’ve had a journey recently that has been disrupted at the fault of the train company and you’ve found yourself forking out extra money, or losing out on events, then claim for that loss and let us know how you get on.

We want you to test out these rules and your rights to claim to make sure the system is working as it should be. To help you do this, we’ve created free guides to help you navigate the process and file a claim for consequential loss.

Have you ever been put off from claiming compensation on rail travel – and do you think these changes will help passengers claim what they are entitled to in future?


My wife often has to travel for work by train where the tickets are bought for her by a third party. Recently having been delayed by the train company she was directed by the train operators staff to claim compensation for her 5 hour delay and was paid promptly. The issue here is that my wife told the third party about the compensation and she was told in no uncertain terms, all the way up to the CEO, that as they bought the ticket she must pay them the compensation! The train companies do not detail who should get the compensation, the traveller or the purchaser. Who do you think should be compensated? My wife did the right thing by telling the purchasing body but they said that as they are a public body she has to give them the money. If she hadn’t made the claim then the buyer would not have known about the delay. Who is in the right?

I would say that the purchaser of the ticket should receive recompense of its purchase price but the passenger who has had out of pocket expenses or who has received ‘delay compensation’ over and above the price of the ticket should be entitled to keep all of that because it is they, and not the ticket purchaser, who has suffered. This could be clouded by the situation if a person arrives late for work but still gets paid for a full day’s attendance – the employer might feel that the ‘delay compensation’ element should be rendered to them. I would expect a public service employer to act honourably according to the circumstances prevailing and not take a dogmatic stance against their employee on some contrived grounds of public funding. Employers have just as much of a duty to cooperate as their employees do and are usually in a better position to show goodwill.

I agree that the purchaser is the one who should be compensated for the loss they have paid for. It would then be for them to decide whether to pass that compensation on to the “victim”.

Ethna Mulholland says:
13 June 2018


Janet Kent says:
28 June 2018

In February 2018 (long before the new timetable) Northern cancelled, at 15 minutes notice, the 10.45am from Lime Street to take me to my father’s 96th birthday party. Long planned, as you will imagine. I will NEVER forgive them.

Jennie Drabble says:
29 June 2018

Northern Rail refuse to give refunds to passengers with multimodal tickets. I referred this matter to Transport Focus, who agreed that Northern SHOULD provide refunds for multimodal ticket users, but TF can’t actually make them do this. My train is delayed or cancelled nearly every day, and yet I am not eligible for delay-repay.

I hold a seasons ticket and the number of times the southwest railways train is delayed almost everyday and miss my connection. I have to wait for an hour for next one. The customer service never replies and staff says take earlier train and hence adding 30 mins to my journey. In short they won’t improve, I have to spend 1 hour less with my family.

James Roose says:
2 July 2018

You’d think getting up at 5.30 to get to work would be a peaceful activity with plenty of spare seats. How wrong you would be.There are people who stand the whole way from Mid Sussex to London Bridge/Blackfriars/City ThamesLink for the pleasure of spending over £3000 per year for the privilege. Less trains, more congestion. Short formation trains turning up; cancelled trains; the sudden disappearance of trains that can be found in the schedule the night before. It’s beyond farcical. 18 delay repay claims in 22 days of travelm including 3 of more than an hour and 1 of over 2 hours today!

several bad experiences . disabled with back pain. assistance was refused as “drivers are paid more than us!”
no help on and off train or into lift so I missed connections.
kindness of other passengers saved me from more pain. and I WAS in pain!!

Holly says:
9 July 2018

Great Western Railway are truly one of the worst rail companies. Always ALWAYS delays, no repay unless it’s over an HOUR delayed (and even then you don’t get a full refund), 3+ months to get a reply to a complaint/delay repay request, they don’t release advance fares to any kind of set schedule, old trains, no free wifi, embarrassingly twee marketing campaigns (why don’t they spend your money on actually providing a good service…?). And to top it all off, absolutely ludicrous prices. Sucks to not be able to choose a better rail provider on the journey I have to make.