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How to get a refund on train tickets

If your train journey is delayed or cancelled, you might be able to get your money back.

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When can you get a full refund on train tickets?

To get a refund on your train tickets, you need to claim within 28 days of the date you were supposed to travel.

If your journey is cancelled for any reason, you can get a full refund from the train company you were due to travel with. You need to keep your unused ticket as proof. If you're asked to send in the original ticket with your claim, be sure to keep a copy of it.

What are your legal rights to a refund?

What if you choose not to travel?

You may be able to get a refund on your tickets if you change your mind about a journey.

You're more likely to get a full refund if the train you were intending to take is delayed, or your reservation is not available.

You may have to pay a £10 cancellation fee if your booked service is running normally.

Some advance tickets and special offers may be non-refundable, so check the terms and conditions of the train operating company.

Find your train company's contact details

When can you get compensation on your train tickets?

When you qualify for compensation depends on the train operator. They do not all have the same Delay Repay scheme.

Some train companies have lowered the minimum delay time to 15+ minutes.

The delay refers to the arrival time, not the departure. You would not be entitled to compensation if your train left 20 minutes late but only arrived 5 minutes after its scheduled arrival.

See the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

You cannot claim if the cause of the delay was not your train operator's fault. For example, you could claim for delays caused by staff shortages, but not for delays caused by bad weather.

What is Delay Repay?

This is a voluntary scheme that lets you claim compensation if your train is delayed by more than 15 minutes. The train companies signed up to Delay Repay include:

What you can claim for and how much you get depends on the train company.

The Delay Repay scheme has a tiered refund policy. For single or return journeys, some offer:

Updated 21 April 2020
Arrival delayPotential refund (% of journey fare)
15 to 29 minutes25% single journey
30 to 59 minutes50% single journey
1 to 2 hours100% single journey
2+ hours100% single or return journey

And the Delay Repay for season ticket holders may be:

Updated 21 April 2020
Arrival delayPotential refund (% of journey fare)
15 to 29 minutes1/40th of weekly ticket, 1/60th of monthly ticket, or 1/1856th of annual ticket
30 to 59 minutes1/20th of weekly ticket, 1/80th of monthly ticket, 1/928th of annual ticket
1+ hours1/10th of weekly ticket, 1/40th monthly ticket, or 1/464th of annual ticket

How much do you get without Delay Repay?

You will not get the same amounts as Delay Repay thresholds if the train operator is not part of the scheme. Your train may need to be delayed by more than an hour for these refunds:

  • 50% of single ticket fare

  • 50% of delayed journey fare with a return ticket, if only one journey delayed

  • 50% of total return fare, if both journeys delayed

Do you get a refund for poor service?

You can also claim for service problems on your journey, like:

  • Broken toilets

  • Dangerous overcrowding

  • No WiFi, when you were told there would be

Keep a copy of your tickets, and take photos of any problems you experience on your journey. Then email them to your train company's complaints team, by searching their contact details on their website.

The amount you get is down to the train company's discretion. They are not legally obliged to give you a refund. But you could still get money back as a goodwill gesture.

Can you claim compensation on season tickets?

As well as the Delay Repay for season ticket holders, you could also get a renewal discount.

This applies to monthly or annual season ticket holders who've experienced 'sustained poor performance'. This varies and depends on your route and operator. Check with your train operator how to qualify.

Can you get refunds during train strikes?

You can get a full refund if any part of your train journey is cancelled due to strike action.

You'll also be given the option to travel on a different train, without changing your ticket.

You can choose between:

  • A different train on the same day

  • A different train, up to 7 days after your journey was cancelled

The travel conditions of your original ticket will still apply. For example, if you have an off-peak ticket you can only travel at off-peak times.

Most train companies put on replacement services during strikes. This means you can only claim for delays to your journey if your replacement travel is affected.

How are train refund claims paid?

If your claim is successful, your train company will refund the money into the account you used to pay for it, it or by cheque.

You have the right to demand cash for train delays and cancellations. Do not be fobbed off with train vouchers!

What if your claim for a refund is rejected?

If you are unhappy with the response you get from your train company, you can log an official complaint with them.

Read how to write a complaint letter.

If you are still unhappy, you can escalate your complaint to Transport First or the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

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