How to get a refund on your train ticket this Christmas

By Charlie Sawyer

Updated Jan 5, 2024 at 03:23 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

It’s Christmas, and as much as I’m dying to get home so that I can sample an entire bucket load of my mum’s roast potatoes, I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect of trying to navigate the seasonal train delays.

If you’re getting the train home this Crimbo, you’re almost guaranteed to encounter a couple of cancellations and at least half a dozen delays. And trains are not cheap. I mean, in this cost of living crisis, buying a train ticket is practically equivalent to taking out a mortgage.

Don’t worry though, you’re in luck. This blonde fairy is going to break down for you exactly what you need to do if you find yourself being ghosted by Trainline. Half the reason they keep transport websites so archaic is so that no one can ever actually figure out how to access the supposed refund that they’ve been promised. It’s honestly kind of genius.

That being said, I’ve done the research so let me break it down for you. Here is everything you need to know about how to get a refund on your train ticket this season. We’ve tackled landlords, now it’s the sodding train’s turn.

How to get a refund on a train that’s been cancelled or delayed

What is the Delay Repay scheme?

The first thing you’re going to need to know is whether or not the train operator you’re using subscribes to the Delay Repay scheme. While this isn’t the only way you’ll be able to get a refund, it is the easiest and most efficient one. Click here to find out which train operators offer Delay Repay.

Delay Repay is a national programme that train companies use to compensate passengers for unexpected delays and cancellations to their services. If you arrive late at your destination because of a delay or cancellation to a National Rail service, you can claim Delay Repay compensation. Depending on the train operator you’ve travelled with, you can claim compensation if there’s a 15-minute or 30-minute delay to your journey. The amount of compensation you’ll receive depends on what train company you’re travelling with.

No matter what caused the delay—whether it was a couple of leaves on the tracks or a dash of rain on the train’s windshield—you can still claim compensation up to 28 days after your journey.

Make sure to always hold onto your ticket. Whether you’re a millennial who insists on buying a physical ticket to store in your Michael Kors card holder or a gen Zer who takes a million screenshots of their barcode just in case the Trainline app all of a sudden combusts, it’s always best to make sure your ticket is safe and sound. You’ll need this as evidence of your journey.

I know that filling out all of the online paperwork and information documents can be hella long and boring, but make sure you apply for the refund sooner rather than later. 28 days can come around real quick and you don’t want to end up missing out on your moolah because you got lost in a Gossip Girl hole.

What is Delay Repay 15?

I know, if things weren’t already exciting enough, there’s also such a thing as the Delay Repay 15. In short, some train companies also entitle passengers to 25 per cent of their ticket price if they get to their destination between 15 and 29 minutes late.

What if my train operator doesn’t offer the Delay Repay scheme?

According to Citizens Advice, you can still get compensation under rules called the ‘National Rail Conditions of Carriage’ if the train company doesn’t offer Delay Repay, but you won’t get as much.

You won’t get anything if the delay wasn’t the train company’s fault—for example, if you were delayed because of bad weather. Yeah, you know those leaves we were talking about earlier, well let’s just hope you don’t encounter any on your way home.

I can imagine that this is probably the most thrilling Explained By a Blonde you’ve experienced yet—you’re welcome by the way—but just wait ‘till 2024 baby, because it’s about to get even more exciting. See you then!

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