Delayed by 30 minutes or more? You’re probably able to get some of your train fare back – and these tricks can help.
Only one in three passengers who face delays actually claim back the compensation they’re entitled to, and the latest figures show a huge £100 million was unclaimed over 12 months.
With train fares often ridiculously expensive, especially if you leave it to the last minute to buy your ticket, I find this really surprising. But many don’t know they can do it, how to do it and even that it can be well worth doing.
I’ve written before about when you can get a refund and how to do it, so this article shares a few more tricks to boost your claim when you’re on the train, when you arrive at the station and when you get home.
On the train
Track the length your delay
With most train operators you’ll only be able to claim a refund (usually 50%) if you’re delayed by more than 30 minutes. So if a delay had been 29 mins, I’d not only have been inconvenienced, I wouldn’t be able to claim!
On some journeys, the conductor actually informed us that we could get a refund, though this often doesn’t happen – so it’s usually down to you to track the length of your delay.
The rules do change – more will refund you if the delay is 15 mins, while some require at least 60 minutes.
If you forget, you can check the real times on the Recent Train Times website.
Ask why you’ve been delayed
The cause of the delay doesn’t matter if the train operator has signed up to the Delay Repay scheme. But if it hasn’t, you might be only to claim if the delay could have been avoided (so bad weather or strike action don’t count).
To help your claim, ask the guard if the company has signed up to Delay Repay, and if not what was the cause of the delay
Take a photo of your ticket
You’ll need proof of your journey to claim a refund, so snap the ticket with your phone just in case you lose it.
At the station
Don’t use the electronic gates
This one has caught me out a few times. Most automatic gates will eat your ticket, and no ticket means it’s harder to claim your compensation. So even if you’ve taken a photo it’s best to find the manual gate with a guard so you can keep hold of your ticket for the claim.
Take a screenshot of live information or the arrivals board
Once you’ve arrived, take a photo of the arrivals board or the live tracking information on an app. You might not need it, but it’s extra proof if your delay time is close to one of the compensation brackets (normally 15, 30, 60 or 120 minutes).
Get a form at the station
If you’ve time, you can pick up a compensation form at the station. Though it’d be nice if these were easy to find, I imagine you’ll need to ask for one at the ticket or information desk.
It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get one as you can usually apply online or print a form from the website.
When you get home
Find the form online
If the train provider allows online claims this is usually quicker. You can upload a picture of your phone, which means it’s often easier to do this from your phone rather than a desktop.
Ask for a bank transfer
It’s not always clear but you are legally entitled to a bank transfer or cheque refund. If you don’t ask for this you could be sent an annoying rail voucher than can only be used at ticket desks.
Take a copy of your ticket and form
If you’re posting your compensation claim form and ticket, make sure you have a copy (just take a photo if you don’t have a scanner). If you’re filling it in online you should be able to save a copy.
And make a note of to chase if you haven’t heard back within the time stated on the form.
Put the refund claim in before 28 days pass
You’ve only got four weeks to request your refund, so don’t leave it too late.