Straight answers: Compensation on the railway
What is the industry doing to make claiming compensation easier?
We want to compensate passengers fairly when their journey doesn’t go to plan and rather than setting an arbitrary amount which would be too little in some cases and disproportionately high in others, we refund people according to the cost of their ticket.
We’re working together to make claiming easier with more train companies offering ‘one click’ or automatic compensation, some for delays of just 15 minutes and encouraging passengers to claim through increased station announcements and through Facebook alerts.
How do I seek further compensation or submit a complaint about a service?
Rail companies want to uphold the highest standards in their complaints processes and that’s why we voluntarily set up the independent Rail Ombudsman at our own expense, accredited by both the Institute of Trading Standards and the Ombudsman Association.
Working together we’re improving the way we handle complaints before they reach the Ombudsman, which is a final independent backstop, and we’re providing clear and accurate information about the service online, by email and on posters around the railway to remind customers of their rights to a fair outcome.
Visit the rail ombudsman website for more information.
What happens when delays are caused by the railway infrastructure, not the train company?
Nobody likes a late train – it can be a very stressful experience for passengers and it can put them off travelling by rail again in the future.
Train operators plan for high levels of performance (and therefore passenger demand for rail travel) throughout their franchises, which forms the basis of their payments back to the Government. Where Network Rail is responsible for delays, such as with tracks and signalling that mean this performance is not delivered, affected train operators may receive payments from Network Rail. These payments are designed to ensure train operators are not penalised for factors outside their control and are calculated to ensure that they neither lose out nor profit financially through their contract with the Government.
Compensation to passengers is contractually separate from this, with train operators paying compensation directly to passengers regardless of who is at fault.
We are doing more and more to remind people to claim, rolling out smart cards which should make claiming quicker and easier, and have even introduced automatic compensation on some routes. All of this has helped train operators to drive up the amount of compensation paid to passengers by 75% over the last three years.
If you’ve experienced a delay, visit the website of the train operating company you travelled with or National Rail website to find out how to claim.