Train strikes: how to get refunds and who is entitled to compensation?

A cleaner in an almost empty train station

Nine out of ten trains will not run today (Image: CARLOS JASSO/AFP via Getty Images)

More travel chaos hits Britain this weekend – biggest strike in decades hits the rails.

The Rail, Transport and Maritime Union (RMT), Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) all go on strike at the same time, resulting in nine trains out of ten being cancelled.

Trains across the country are either not running at all or are severely disrupted as negotiations continue to give transport workers a fair wage increase in line with the cost of living crisis and inflation.

Fortunately, as the country is brought to a standstill, various train companies have highlighted how customers can receive compensation or use their train tickets to travel at other times or days.

Here’s everything you need to know about getting a refund or compensation for tickets you’ve already purchased.

Am I entitled to a full refund?

If you’re traveling with an advance ticket or season ticket, you can get a partial refund.

Man inserting subway pass

People are eligible for partial refunds (Image: Getty / iStockphoto)

The Delay Repay program ensures customers are eligible for a partial refund if their train is delayed by 15 minutes or more.

If people purchase a walk-up ticket on the day, they are also eligible for a partial refund.

How does Repay work on delays and links to all train line compensation forms

People must contact the train company they are traveling with and provide a photo of their ticket and details of the train they intended to take.

You must do this separately for each delay.

Companies participating in the Delay Repay program

These are the rail lines and companies that will be affected by the strike and the links to their claim forms for delay refunds:

Map of London trains affected by strikes

Marked lines remain open (Image: Network Rail /

How much refund do people get for pre-purchase, off-peak, or anytime tickets?

The Delay Repay program states that people with single tickets receive a 25% discount on the fare if they are 15 to 29 minutes late.

This increases to 50% of the fare for a delay of 30 to 59 minutes and to 100% of the fare for a delay of 60 minutes or more.

For return tickets, this is calculated based on whether one or both legs of the journey were disrupted.

If there is a delay of more than 120 minutes on any route, people are entitled to a full refund of the entire ticket price.

Passengers can receive a full refund or change a ticket date if they choose not to travel of their own accord.

However, according to National Rail, this only applies if a particular train has been “cancelled, delayed or rescheduled”.

Commuters at Liverpool Street Station

Many local lines have been without services for days (Image: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

How does the refund of season tickets work?

Season passes use a formula where the price of a “one-way trip” is a percentage of what you paid for your entire pass for refund purposes.

With an annual pass, this means that customers get 1/464 of the price back for each individual journey.

It is 1/40 of the price for monthly tickets and 1/10 for weekly tickets.

Can season ticket holders get an automatic refund?

The short answer is no, despite Grant Shapps’ claims.

The transport secretary said: “I have moved to help make this an automated process” to “remove the inconvenience to passengers”.

However, this has been confused with suggestions that season ticket holders must use the Delay Repay program like everyone else.

However, under a one-off agreement, season ticket holders can claim back 100% of the delay compensation they are entitled to if they decide not to travel during the three days of the strike.

This applies to the strike days themselves and not to the days in between.

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How fast is the money returned to the bank accounts?

It’s difficult to say.

Ironically, the sheer number of passengers requesting a late refund can mean there will be delays for people wanting some or all of their money back.

The best thing to do, however, is to check directly with the train company you are supposed to be traveling with – either via their customer service hotline, email address or social media.

MORE : All October rail strike dates and routes affected

MORE: When will the rail strike end?

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Justin Scacco

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