Train delay compensation – what you need to know about the new guidelines

empty train platform

We’ve all been there, stuck on the train station platform while the voice on the tannoy informs us of ‘leaves on the line’, ‘signal failures’ or just the frustratingly vague ‘technical issues’ that have led to our trains being delayed.

Current guidelines state that train passengers are eligible to claim for compensation if their train is delayed by 30 minutes or more, but not many of us do. In fact, recent research has suggested that up to 80% of rail passengers fail to lodge a compensation claim for delayed trains.

All that could be about to change though, as new rules from the Department for Transport mean any passenger whose train is delayed by 15 minutes or more will be able to make a claim for compensation.

The new ‘Delay Repay 15’ rules are set to be launched in the next few months, following an initial consultation period, with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) (who operate Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and the Gatwick Express) being the first service provider to take part before it is rolled out nationally.

Train delay compensation amounts – Delay Repay 15

Under the Delay Repay 15 scheme, the compensation payout thresholds will be as follows:

  • Delays of 15 to 29 minutes – 25% of the single fare
  • Delays of 30 to 59 minutes – 50% of the single fare
  • Delays of 60 minutes to 119 minutes – 100% of the single fare
  • Delays of two hours or more – 100% of the total ticket cost (including if it is a return)

Speaking about the new compensation scheme,  Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We recognise that, above all else, passengers want a reliable train service, but when things do go wrong it is vital that they are compensated fairly.

“Delay Repay 15 is a major improvement for passengers and we are working with train companies to make it as easy as possible for passengers to claim their rightful compensation.

“Together with the Consumer Rights Act, this policy shows we are putting passengers first and making sure they receive due compensation for poor service.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers will be pleased to see compensation for delays of 15 minutes, this will go a long way to help build back passenger trust.

“Train companies need to do more to alert passengers to compensation. Passengers expect the process to become smarter and automatic, taking the onus off them to have to claim in the first place – automatic Delay Repay is the way forward.”

What are the current rules about train delay compensation?

While we wait for the Delay Repay 15 scheme to come into effect, compensation is still available for anyone whose train is delayed by 30 minute or more.

Below is a list of rail services that currently offer Delay Repay compensation – regardless of the reason why the train was delayed:

  • Abellio Greater Anglia
  • c2c
  • CrossCountry Trains
  • East Midlands Trains
  • Great Northern
  • Northern
  • ScotRail
  • Southeastern
  • Southern
  • Thameslink
  • Transpennine Express
  • Virgin East Coast
  • Virgin Trains

See the below table for the compensation amounts currently available under the Delay Repay scheme:

DELAY MINIMUM COMPENSATION
30-59 mins 50% of single fare back
60-119 mins 100% of single fare back
120+ mins 100% of single or return fare back
Season tickets
(30-59 mins)
Proportionate: 1/20th of weekly ticket, 1/80th of monthly ticket, or 1/928th of annual ticket
Season tickets
(60+ mins)
Proportionate: 1/10th of weekly ticket, 1/40th of monthly ticket, or 1/464th of annual ticket

How to make a train delay compensation claim…

The process of submitting a Delay Repay claim is surprisingly simple, just follow these five quick and easy steps to get on your way:

  1. Look up the train company running the service’s website and find out exactly how much compensation you can claim
  2. Fill in the claim form – you should be able to get this from the website, but if not you can call them and request they post one out to you
  3. Make sure you keep hold of your tickets as these will need to be sent/scanned to the train company
  4. Apply within the time limit, typically 28 days (but check – it might be less)