How to get a refund for delayed trains

Not only can you claim back money if your train is delayed, you can get cash rather than those annoying train travel vouchers.

I hate being late. I’ll always try to leave early, if not bang on time, so any kind of delay is the kind of thing that really p*sses me off. And trains are among the worst for getting me somewhere later than I planned.

Just a few weeks ago my train down to London from Yorkshire was cancelled. Though my ticket was valid on the next train it would mean I’d arrive back 30 minutes later than planned – and this meant I could get a partial refund!

With that cash arriving in my account this week, I thought it was time to share my Be Clever Basics Q&A for getting a refund when your train is delayed or cancelled.

When can you claim a refund for a train delay?

The main requirement is your train has to be delayed by at least 15 minutes, though a handful will only pay out after a 30 or 60-minute delays.

The rules also say the delay has to be the train company’s fault in order to get a payout. However, most of the operators have signed up to the “Delay Repay” scheme which will pay out for any delay.

How do you claim?

You can do this online with most rail companies. If you’d rather do it on a form you should be able to pick up one at the station or print one out from the different websites.

Make sure you keep your train tickets as you’ll need to send them in with your claim if it’s via the post, or take a photo if you’re doing it online.

A handful, including Northern and C2C, will automatically issue a refund if you meet certain criteria such as holding a smartcard or booked in advance via their website.

How to find out how long a train was delayed?

If you didn’t make a note at the time, then check out the Recent Train Times website. It’s not the most user-friendly, but it shouldn’t take you long to find out exactly how long a delay was.

How much can you claim?

Again, how big a refund you’ll get depends on the different operators.  The length of the delay will also have an impact.

With Delay Repay, the minimum is 25% of a single delayed journey that’s delayed between 15 and 29 minutes. It jumps up to 50% back for delays between 30 and 59 minutes, and the full single fare back if you are delayed by more than an hour. Some will refund your whole ticket, including the return leg, if the delay is longer than 60 minutes.

If the train company isn’t part of Delay Repay you’re looking at 50% back for delays of an hour or more.

> Find out the Delay Repay policy from each of the train companies

When do you need to claim a refund by?

You need to submit your claim within 28 days of the journey.

Can I get a refund if the train is cancelled?

If you don’t travel due to cancellation you can get a full refund from where you bought the ticket.

If you travel on a different train (check with platform staff first that it’s ok to do this), you’ll only be able to get a refund if you arrive more than 30-minutes later than the original booked train.

How can you receive the refund?

You no longer have to get your refund as one of those annoying train travel vouchers. Instead, you should be able to pick one form of payment such as a refund to your card or cheque. For example, LNER lets you choose to have a payment made to your bank account or your PayPal account.

What if I have a season ticket?

You’ll be entitled to compensation equivalent to a single journey. Some train providers will also offer discounts on future season tickets if the service is consistently delayed.

What if you used pay as you go Oyster or Contactless in London?

You can claim for tube and TFL Rail journeys delayed over 15 minutes. It’s a bit of a faff and you need to use your Oyster account for this, but it’s worth doing.

> Don’t forget you can save more by getting the best price when you book. Here are my top 10 tips to cheaper train travel

One thought on “How to get a refund for delayed trains

  1. Pingback: 10 Tricks For Cheap Trains | Be Clever With Your Cash


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