What are consequential losses?

Consequential losses are any additional out-of-pocket expenses you’ve suffered because of your train being delayed or cancelled.

You can do this under the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) together with the common law and it is written in the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

It could be:

  • a taxi or uber you had to use because the train was cancelled or did not stop at your station
  • overtime you’ve had to pay your childcare provider
  • a missed flight
  • a hotel room you had to book because the last train of the day was cancelled
  • costs attributable to a failure to provide disabled access when booked in advance.

But you should take reasonable steps to lessen your losses - so if you’re catching the train to the theatre but a delay means you’ll miss the performance you should look for other ways to get there in time.

These could include another service or taxi, which you can then claim back the cost of.

If there are no other options, you should be able to then claim for the theatre tickets.

Make a 'consequential loss' claim

To make a successful claim you’ll need to demonstrate:

  • that the service failure was the fault of the train company and not a Network Rail issue (eg signal failure or track problems)
  • how your losses are linked to a breach of contract by the train company
  • that you took all reasonable steps to lessen your losses (eg you tried to take another train or a taxi)
  • that the losses were either reasonably foreseeable by the train company (eg a hotel room when you’re stranded after the last train of the day is cancelled) or you alerted the train company to your circumstances in advance (eg by booking disabled access)
  • that the costs were reasonably incurred (eg you went for a modest rather than 5-star hotel).

Your first port of call should be to write to the company asking for compensation. You should explain how their service was in breach of their contract with you and how that breach resulted in further losses to you.

It’s a good idea to seek out legal advice if your claim is of particularly high value or complicated.

If you haven’t suffered additional expenses, but your train was delayed or cancelled you may still be eligible for compensation through Delay Repay.

See our guide on how to make a delay repay claim.

You can also claim for a refund if your service was poor.

What losses can’t I claim for?

If the train delay or cancellation was caused by factors outside of the train company’s control, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make a successful claim.

Examples of this include:

  • issues with the rail tracks
  • signal problems
  • acts or threats of vandalism or terrorism
  • suicides or accidents involving trespassers
  • gas leaks or fires in lineside buildings not caused by a train company
  • line closures at the request of the police or emergency services
  • exceptionally severe weather conditions
  • industrial action
  • riots or civil commotion
  • fire, mechanical or electrical failure or a defect (except where caused by a train company or its trains’ defects)
  • the striking of a bridge by a vehicle.

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