My train has been cancelled – what are my refund rights in 2022?

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If you live in the UK, you’re no stranger to the inconvenience of a train cancellation – but, after the grumbling and rescheduling of plans, the question remains: are you able to claim a refund?

Due to Covid staff shortages, TransPennine Express, ScotRail, Avanti West Coast, Northern Rail, LNER and Greater Anglia all reported an impact on services in December 2021.

According to Seb Gordon, director of external communications at the Rail Delivery Group, spoke about the pandemic’s influence on transport and the subsequent short-notice cancellations, stating that everyone must prepare for a lower level of staffing over a longer period of time and timetable reductions.

A spokesperson for Great Western Railway added that everyone is coping with the new omicron wave and that “this is a situation that is not going to improve.”  

The Rail Delivery Group always urges people to check timetables before they travel – although it is not always possible to avoid a transport delay or cancellation.

But what do you do if your train is, indeed, cancelled? Here’s everything you need to know about your rights to getting a refund.

Can I get a refund if my train is cancelled?

All passengers are entitled to a full refund with no administration fee if their train is cancelled and they are unable to make their journey. This includes travellers with tickets that are usually non-refundable.  

Most operators will allow travellers to apply for a refund for up to 28 days after the cancellation, but some will allow longer.

Passengers with season tickets will in some cases be able to get some money back for a delay or cancellation, depending on the operator. 

Most operators have an online form on their website that can be used to request a refund. Most require passengers to upload a picture of their ticket.

If a traveller’s train is cancelled and they travel on the next service, they may still be eligible for a full or partial refund, depending on the rail operator. 

According to Citizen’s Advice, passengers can expect to receive their refund within a month. 

Companies will often offer vouchers as compensation, the consumer group said, but customers can insist on a cash refund if they prefer. 

Can I get a refund if my train is delayed?

Delays and missed stops are not an irregular occurrence in Britain. In the four years to 2020, trains failed to stop at stations more than a million times, according to industry statistics.

Trains can run past scheduled stops to make up for lost time, or to avoid closed stations in the event of an incident.

If a train skips a station and a traveller faces a delay as a result, they are entitled to claim for the time it takes them to eventually get to their destination.

Since 2007, a national “Delay Repay” scheme has been in place to refund travellers who arrive late to their destinations due to complications on their journey.

To be entitled to this compensation, a journey must be delayed by between 15 minutes and an hour, depending on the train operator. Some companies will offer full compensation in these cases, while others will offer only a partial refund.

If you are not happy with how the train operator has handled your complaint or refund request, you can contact the Rail Ombudsman by calling 0330 094 0362, or emailing info@railombudsman.org.

This article is kept updated with the latest information.

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