What are my rights when my train is cancelled or delayed?

Modified on Fri, 09 Jun 2023 at 10:44 AM

The European Union is the only area in the world where citizens are protected by a full set of passenger rights – whether they travel by air, rail, ship, bus or coach. EU legislation for Rail Passenger Rights entered into force in December 2009.

When your train is cancelled or delayed, it's important to know your rights as a passenger. Here's what you need to know:

1. Adequate Information: You have the right to receive accurate and timely information about the situation while waiting for your train.

2. Delay of 1 Hour or More: If you're informed that your final destination will be delayed by at least 1 hour, the following rights apply:

  • Cancel and Refund: You can cancel your travel plans and request an immediate refund for the cost of your ticket, either in full or for the unused portion of your journey.
  • Return Journey: If the delay prevents you from fulfilling the purpose of your trip, you may be entitled to a return journey to your initial departure point.
  • Transportation to Destination: You should be transported to your final destination at the earliest opportunity, or at a later date of your choosing. This includes alternative transport when the train service is suspended.
  • Meals and Refreshments: You're entitled to receive meals and refreshments that are proportionate to the 
  • Accommodation: If the delay requires you to stay overnight, the railway company should provide accommodation.

3. Compensation for Delay or Cancellation: As a European citizen, you have passenger rights that entitle you to compensation for train delays or cancellations. Here are some key points:

  • Claim Submission: You can submit a claim for compensation on the website of the railway company within 60 days from your travel date.
  • Eligible Reasons: Compensation may be available for reasons such as illness, hospitalization, surgeries, bereavement of an immediate family member, international delays, and travel discomfort (e.g., broken air conditioning, bedbugs).
  • Additional Expenses: Some railway companies may also refund unavoidable expenses caused by the delay, such as overnight accommodation or transport between the station and your accommodation.
  • Processing Time: The time taken for compensation processing varies. While immediate refunds are possible for certain cases, it typically takes a few weeks or months. During periods of high claim volume, such as national strikes, the processing time may be longer.
  • Compensation Delivery: Reimbursement can be received via PayPal, bank account transfer, or in the form of vouchers. It's important to note that the processing of your claim may take up to a month.

4. Submitting a Claim: Each railway company has its own procedure for compensation. 

Knowing your rights and following the appropriate steps will help you seek the compensation you're entitled to in the event of train cancellations or delays.

All information can be found on the 'Your Europe’ website, where applicable passenger rights are translated in all EU languages. A smartphone app is also available, and can be downloaded for free for Google Android, iPhone, iPad, and Windows Phone.

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