1. ITV Report

Guide to rail commuters' rights over refunds

New report published shows passengers unaware of their rail rights. Photo: PA

Three quarters of train passengers don't know they can claim compensation if their train is delayed or cancelled according to a survey.

The report from the Office of Rail Regulation found that over 75% of rail passengers "don't know very much" or "nothing at all" about what compensation they are entitled to when their trains are delayed.

Here is what you need to know about your rail rights and when you are entitled to a refund:

Under rail industry specific arrangements, where a passenger has bought a ticket for a rail service and that service is delayed or cancelled, then the passenger may be entitled to a refund or compensation, depending upon a number of factors, including:

  • whether the delay occurred before or after the service departed
  • whether they chose to travel
  • the length and/or cause of the delay

Train delays

if your train is delayed or cancelled (or your reservation will not be honoured) and you choose not to travel then you are entitled to a refund.

If, however, you travel and are delayed reaching your final destination, then you may be entitled to compensation.

Commuters waiting on the platform of a train station Credit: PA

Non-season tickets

  • a passenger is entitled to a refund on their ticket (with no administration charge) if their train is delayed, cancelled or their seat reservation will not be honoured, and they decide not to travel.
  • The amount of refund to which a passenger will be eligible will depend upon any use they have made of their ticket. So, if they have used part of their ticket before deciding not to continue their journey, this may be taken into account when calculating any refund.
  • A refund may also be sought in other circumstances, for example, where the passenger changes their mind about travelling for reasons other than delay or cancellation, for example, their plans change, although this may be subject to an administration charge of up to £10 and will depend upon the type of ticket held.
  • Advance tickets, for example, are not refundable in such circumstances.
Commuters buy train tickets at Victoria station in central London Credit: PA


  • Whether a refund will be given on a season ticket depends on a number of factors, including the length of time for which the ticket is still valid.
  • Given the way in which refunds are calculated, the amount paid will not usually be in equal proportion to the price of the ticket and, in some cases, there may be no refund payable.
  • It is also important to note that refunds are not usually made on a duplicate ticket that has been issued to replace a lost or stolen season ticket.


  • There is no automatic entitlement to compensation for individual delays for monthly and annual season ticket holders.
  • ‘Compensation’, is generally based on average performance over a 12 month period and if average performance for either reliability or cancellations falls below a certain level then a discount is offered on the price of the passenger’s next season ticket.

Delay Repay

  • Under Delay Repay, season ticket holders may claim for individual delays in same way as non-season ticket holders - but there is no automatic reduction in the price of a season ticket at renewal.
  • The amount that season ticket holders receive for each delay is based on a calculation of how much they pay for each journey.
Passengers waiting for a train Credit: PA

Duplicate season tickets

  • No more than two duplicates will be issued in a twelve month period.
  • The issue of a replacement season ticket may also affect passengers’ ability to get a refund if they decide they no longer need their season ticket.

Disruption to the rail network

  • Arrangements also exist to compensate train companies when there is disruption to the rail network.