Train companies are making it far too difficult for passengers to get compensation for a rail delay or cancellation, or even find out they’re eligible.

The latest figures show 47 million passenger journeys were either cancelled or significantly late in one year. Most train companies’ passengers are entitled to compensation if they’re delayed by half an hour or more but our survey of nearly 7,000 rail passengers found only a third (34%) of passengers who may have been entitled to compensation said they actually made a claim.

Which? also mystery shopped 102 train stations and asked basic questions on rail delay refunds. Their results show that not enough is being doing to remove the unnecessary barriers to claiming compensation for passengers:

  • In only one in five (18%) instances the mystery shopper was given a full explanation for the conditions for claiming a refund due to a delay or cancellation
  • In six in ten (62%) visits the mystery shoppers left the station not knowing what they might be entitled to
  • In around three in five (63%) cases the mystery shoppers were not told that they could request their compensation in an alternative form to vouchers, even after prompting
  • In nearly four in ten (37%) visits, our researchers were either not given any information at all or only part of the information they needed about how long a delay needs to be before a refund would be due
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, says:

“Current proposals to improve compensation for passengers are too far down the track. Even if an automatic compensation system was included in all new franchises from tomorrow, it would take until at least 2025 to cover the whole network.

“Millions of passengers are left out of pocket each year, so train companies must do more to put their passengers first and make rail refunds easier.”