Commuters are facing major setbacks this week on rail travel after Storm Dudley wreaked havoc across the UK, causing severe delays and cancellations to rail services. All rail services in Scotland were suspended yesterday due to high winds, power disruptions and fallen trees.
The disruption came after it emerged more than a fifth of pre-pandemic train services are yet to resume service. According to The Rail Delivery Group, 79% of pre-pandemic services are running.
Widespread cancellations and delays mean that thousands of rail users will need to claim refunds over the next few weeks. The process can be tricky, but luckily the experts at money.co.uk have put together a handy guide with all the need-to-know information.
James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “People using rail services this week have faced delays and cancellations, but just because your journey has been disrupted by the weather, it doesn’t mean you should be out of pocket.
“The most important thing to know is that if your train is cancelled for any reason, you are entitled to a full refund for your ticket. Remember that in order to qualify, you must claim within 28 days of your travel date.
“If you want to claim your refund in person you need to visit the National Rail ticket office at your local station. They should know if you’re eligible for a refund and be able to process it on the spot, but you must have a physical or digital copy of your unused ticket with you.
“You can also claim a refund online, which is the best option if you’ve purchased your ticket through a website or app. Visit the site you bought your ticket from, whether this is the National Rail website, your rail provider’s website, or a third party website like TrainLine.
“Then navigate to the refund section, where you’ll be able to fill out a refund request form and attach proof of your physical or digital ticket. If approved your refund should be processed within 24 hours and you should get your money back within ten days.
“It’s not only rail users whose trains have been cancelled that can claim money back - even if you managed to reach your destination, you may still be able to claim compensation for delays. You could even be entitled to a 100% refund, depending on how late you arrived.
“If you want to claim, the first thing you need to do is check if your train operator is signed up for a scheme called Delay Repay, which the majority of British train operators are. The scheme allows you to claim compensation if your arrival time is delayed for any reason, including bad weather.
“Delay Repay entitles you to 50% of your ticket price if your arrival is between 30 minutes and an hour late, and a full refund if you arrive more than one hour later.
“Some train companies are signed up for a scheme called Delay Repay 15. Under this scheme, you are also entitled to 25% compensation if your train is delayed between 15 minutes to half an hour.
“Remember that you can also claim a refund for service problems on your trip, including broken toilets, overcrowding and a lack of promised services such as Wi-Fi.
“If you’re a season ticket holder and have regularly experienced poor services due to problems like Covid-19 or bad weather, you may also be entitled to a renewal discount. Eligibility may vary by train company, so it’s worth checking with your operator to see if you can make a claim.
“Lastly, to dodge cancellations and delays to your journey, it’s worth keeping an eye out on the National Rail website for any urgent weather warnings and changes to upcoming train schedules.
“For more information on how to claim a refund on your train tickets, visit: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/how-to-get-a-refund-on-train-tickets.htm.”
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.