Friday 6 July 2018

Finance Fridays – Train delays compensation

For last week's Finance Fridays we were looking at life assurance. This week we are talking about getting compensation for train delays. On Sunday we travelled from Southampton to Sheffield but arrived home only 10 minutes than my parents who had travelled from Southampton to South West London by train. The reason it took them so long was that the train they were booked was delayed by some considerable time. When they did get on it it then stopped at the next station and waited for staff to arrive by taxi. They couldn't get off at the station they needed to change at because it was decided that the train was so late it would miss that stop out and go straight on to London Waterloo. This meant my parents then had to wait for another train to take them back. With such delays they are entitled to compensation but how much could they get back and how do you go about it?

How late do I need to be delayed? - Each train operator has its own rules and policies but it is generally 30 minutes delay in getting to your destination. The key point here is your arrival time. Your train may be delayed in departing from your original station but it may pick up time on the journey. Some companies have lowered the delay time to 15 minutes including South Western Railway which is the company my parents travelled with.

Are some delays excluded? - Yes if it is judged to be outside of the train operators' control. Such circumstances are vandalism or terrorism, incidents on the line due to suicides or accidents, severe weather such as flooding or high winds, line closures that have been requested by the police or other emergency services.

How much could I get back? - If you have a return ticket you will only be compensated for the single leg cost of your journey that has been delay. For season ticket holders it will be a proportion of their ticket based on whether they have a weekly, monthly or annual pass. If you have bought a one-off ticket then generally the refund you could receive back will be 25% of your ticket price for delays up to 30 minutes, 50% for delays between 30-60 minutes and 100% back for delays over an hour. Again each train operator has its own policies.

Can I claim for other losses? - If your delayed train has made you miss a concert, theatre performance or something else you have paid out for then the train operators will not be held financially responsible for this.

How do I claim?
- Make sure you keep your tickets as evidence. Take a photograph or scan them in case you lose them or need to send them off. You must make your claim within 28 days of your journey. Make a note of the reason the train operator said the train was delayed. To confirm the length of the delay incurred use the website Recent Train Times to look up the exact journey you took. This website records all recent train times and how long they took. Finally, fill out the claim form. You can do this online or ask for a form at a station – beware though as they may not be willing to hand one over!

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Finance Fridays

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