How to claim refunds for train delays and cancellations

Delays can be annoying, but you can often get your money back straight away at the ticket office. We explain how you can make a claim after leaving the station.

Compensation during engineering work

In most cases any disruption due to engineering work is heavily publicised beforehand, and most train companies will publish a revised timetable that sets out when reduced services (if any) will be running.

To claim train delay compensation during engineering work you'll need to be delayed long enough to qualify under that train companies rules based on the revised timetable your train company has published, not the regular timetable.

This is not necessarily the case where engineering work overruns beyond the revised timetable. In this case you may be able to claim compensation based on the regular timetable, as long as your train company is signed up to Delay Repay.

1 Claim train delay repay 

Delay repay is the national scheme that most train companies use to compensate you for delays and cancellations.

You should find all you need to make a delay repay claim on the website of the train operator you were travelling with. 

Delay Repay?  Companies signed up to the Delay Repay scheme pay compensation regardless of the reason for the delay. 

Companies that don't use Delay Repay won't usually pay compensation if the problem is deemed out of their control. 

But it's still worth asking them for compensation, as some may pay out.

Strike  Sometimes an emergency timetable will be put in place when a strike happens. In some cases this means you can only claim compensation based on delays to services on the emergency timetable.

Demand cash  Don't be fobbed off with rail vouchers. Train companies are legally required to offer you cash compensation.

To help you find the information you need to make a claim, we've provided a link for more on how to claim on each train company's website.

Select the train company you're claiming against from the following list:

Abellio Greater Anglia
Arriva Trains Wales
Chiltern Railways
East Midlands
First Hull Trains
First Transpennine Express
Govia Thameslink Railway
Great Northern
Grand Central
Great Western
London Midland
South Western Railway (formerly South West Trains)
Virgin (East & West coast)

The table below shows how and where you can make a train delay compensation claim.

Train delay compensationHow to claim

Abellio Greater Anglia

Claim compensation on the Abellio Greater Anglia website.

Arriva Trains Wales

Find out how to claim compensation on the Arriva Trains Wales website.


Find out how to claim compensation on the C2C website.


Find out how to claim compensation on the Chiltern website.



Find out how to claim compensation on the CrossCountry website.

East Midlands

Find out how to claim compensation on the East Midlands website.

First Hull Trains

Find out how to claim compensation on the First Hull Trains website.

First Transpennine Express

Claim compensation on the Tanspennine Express website.

Great Northern & Thameslink Railway

Claim compensation on the Thameslink website.

Grand Central

Find out how to claim compensation on the Grand Central website.

Great Western

Find out how to claim compensation on the Great Western website.

London Midland

Find out how to claim compensation on the London Midland website.


Find out how to claim compensation on the Merseyrail website.


Find out how to claim compensation on the Northern website.


Find out how to claim compensation on the Scotrail website.


Find out how to claim compensation on the Southeastern website.


Claim compensation on the Southern Rail website.

Souther Western Railway (formerly South West Trains)

Claim compensation on the South West Trains website.

Virgin Trains (East Coast and West Coast)

Claim compensation on the Virgin Trains website.

Table last updated: August 2017

The terms of its train Delay Repay scheme should be clearly set out with instructions on how to make a claim. 

Renewing your season ticket?

We've heard reports that some passengers have been able to haggle a reduction in the cost of their season ticket as a result of persistently poor service. 

If you're travelling on a regularly delayed route you may be able to take advantage of this.

2 Write to the train company

Write to the customer services department of the train company you were travelling with. 

Explain to them what happened, give full details of your journey and include your tickets (take copies first). 

Many train companies now provide online forms on their websites to do this. 

In most cases you'll need to contact the train company itself (eg First Great Western). For journeys on London Underground and London Overground, this will be Transport for London.

For underground services in Merseyside, Tyne and Wear and Glasgow, go to the local Passenger Transport Executive: Merseytravel; Nexus (Tyne and Wear); Strathclyde Passenger Transport (Glasgow) respectively.

Consumer Rights Act travel amendments

If you’re paying to travel by train you’re purchasing a service, and it must be provided with reasonable care and skill.

If the service you’ve received falls way below the standard you’d expect, you might be entitled to claim a full or partial refund. You can also claim for consequential losses.

Use our guide to claim a refund or compensation for a train journey that's been provided without reasonable care and skill.

3 Take your complaint further

If you're not happy with the response you get from the train company, or don't receive the refund you think you're entitled to, try contacting:

  • Transport Focus if your journey was outside London or if your complaint is about the National Rail Enquiries Service;
  • London TravelWatch if your journey was within London and surrounding areas (including those on London Underground or London Overground).

Explain the situation to them, and include copies of the response you have received from the train company.

4 Raise a second complaint

If you're unhappy with the response of Transport Focus or London TravelWatch, get in touch again and raise a complaint with them about how your complaint has been handled.

5 Contact the Ombudsman

If you're still unhappy with the way your complaint has been handled, you can take it to the Parliamentary Ombudsman (for Transport Focus), or the London TravelWatch Chief Executive.

And, if you're still unhappy with London TravelWatch you can refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

6 Section 75 update

In January 2017 a fed-up Southern Rail commuter managed to successfully claim £2,400 of his season ticket back under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

The commuter stated that Southern Rail's poor performance in recent months meant he was entitled to a 50% refund on his ticket.

Under Section 75 your credit card company is jointly liable if something goes wrong with a product or a service you've paid for by credit card.

Which? doesn't believe that passengers affected by a bad service should have to resort to Section 75 to get compensation.

Our advice to passengers is to seek compensation under the Consumer Rights Act, and if the train company isn't playing ball, you should then consider taking legal advice.

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