Further rail strikes are set to take place over the coming weeks as talks between unions and bosses over pay and conditions rumble on. Strikes by the RMT and Aslef unions have caused severe disruption to the national rail network over the last 18 months and the latest strikes in October are likely to impact around 20 train companies, causing further disruption and cancellations.
In this article, we explain how to claim compensation if you have been affected by a train strike and what to do if an upcoming train strike is likely to impact you. We also explain whether you can travel on an alternative day or claim a full refund if you decide not to travel.
Latest rail strike information: Are you affected?
If you intend to travel by rail or tube in the coming days then you should check the latest service information provided by your rail operator. One of the easiest ways to do this is to visit the National Rail Website as it is continually updated with the latest travel information.
Rail strikes in October 2023:
- Wednesday 4th October 2023 (Aslef)
Rail strikes in September 2023:
- Saturday 30th September 2023 (Aslef)
Can I use my ticket to travel on an alternative day?
If you are likely to be affected by impending rail strikes then you can usually travel one day before the date of your ticket and up to and including a few days after, depending on the rail operator. This does however often exclude season tickets. Further information on refunds and whether your ticket can be accepted on other routes will be made available soon.
Can I claim compensation for my train ticket if I am affected by the rail strikes?
Yes, most rail operators will offer compensation if you are affected by the rail strikes, however, it will depend on the type of ticket you have and whether the rail operator runs a compensation scheme, most commonly referred to as a 'Delay repay' scheme. We summarise how to make a compensation claim at the end of this article.
Compensation for single trip tickets
If you have experienced cancellations and or delays caused by the rail strikes then you may be entitled to compensation, however, the amount you may be due and the rules around how you can claim varies depending on the rail operator. The amount you are likely to receive will often depend on the severity of the delay, with smaller refunds paid out for delays of 30 minutes or less and larger refunds of up to 100% if you are delayed for more than 2 hours. Click on this helpful tool from the National Rail website and find your rail operator to see how much you could be entitled to.
You normally have 28 days to complete your rail compensation claim
Compensation for season ticket holders
If you are a season ticket holder and you are affected by the rail strikes then most rail operators will allow you to claim compensation. Each operator has its own set of rules that define how much you can claim back based on the length of the delay. Some season ticket holders can make additional claims for 'Sustained poor performance' and again, the definition varies depending on the operator. Find your rail operator on this helpful tool from the National Rail website to check the definition and rules on rail compensation.
Can I get a full ticket refund if I decide not to travel due to the rail strikes?
Yes, rail operators will be able to issue a full refund if your train is cancelled and you choose not to travel. To claim a refund, simply use the same website that you used to buy your original ticket and submit a refund request. If your train is not affected by the rail strikes and you wish to submit a refund request then your rail operator may apply an administration fee. Again, the rules vary depending on the rail operator you have booked your tickets through. Alternatively, you may wish to exchange your ticket and you can do so for free. Exchanging your ticket enables you to travel on another date of your choosing, however, some restrictions may apply.
Can I claim compensation if I miss a show, gig, festival or sports event due to the rail strikes?
Firstly, speak to the event organiser to see if you can reschedule your event. If there are multiple performances, such as a show in the West End, then you may be able to reschedule, however, you may have to pay a fee. If there are limited performances or if the event is a one-off, then rescheduling is likely not an option, so check whether you are entitled to a refund. It is worth mentioning that ticket distribution websites are unlikely to offer a refund unless you have purchased ticket protection, a type of insurance policy that guarantees a refund if you are unable to make the event. Where you are likely to have more success is if the event you are due to attend has been rescheduled, as you usually have additional rights, although terms and conditions vary depending on the artist, team, venue or promoter.
How to claim compensation if I am affected by the rail strike
If you have been affected by the recent rail strikes, then follow these simple steps to submit your compensation claim.
- Make a note of your train time, the delay you experienced and the reason for the delay
- Take a photo or scan your train tickets and receipts
- Go to the National Rail website and find your rail operator
- The National Rail website lists three links for each operator titled 'contact details, 'information' and website. Every site is slightly different and so you may have to try each link in order to find the relevant page that directs you to the operator's compensation rules as well as how to claim for your delayed rail journey
- Complete the necessary forms (You normally have 28 days to submit your claim)