Home Travel Can I get a refund if my train is cancelled due to the rail strikes?

Can I get a refund if my train is cancelled due to the rail strikes?

Can I get a refund if my train is cancelled due to the rail strikes?

The next fortnight will be blighted by rail disruption, as workers from multiple unions stage walk outs across the UK and in London.

The first industrial action date is Saturday 5 November, when RMT Union members working for Network Rail and 14 separate rail operators have been instructed to walk out for 24 hours.

Some Network Rail staff will also strike on Monday 7 and Wednesday 9 November.

The operators affected include Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, LNER and TransPennine Express.

The worst disruption is expected on 5 November, when only around one in five trains is likely to run; on Monday 7 and Wednesday 9 November, when only Network Rail staff are striking, a higher percentage of services may operate.

On top of this, additional strikes will take place on Thursday 10 November on the London Underground and Overground.

So what rights do you have if your pre-booked train is cancelled due to the strikes?

Here’s everything you need to know.

My train has been cancelled due to the strike. Can I get a refund?

Yes. If your scheduled train service is cancelled by the operator, even due to strikes, you are entitled to either:

  • a full refund, OR
  • a free change of journey time

It doesn’t matter what type of ticket you purchased (e.g. Advance, Anytime).

You can also get a refund if you choose not to travel due to the strikes. National Rail advises: “If you purchased an Advance, Off-Peak or Anytime ticket and choose not to travel at all because your service on either your outward or return journey has been cancelled, delayed or rescheduled then you will be entitled to a refund or change from the original retailer of your ticket.”

In both cases, you need to contact the company that sold you the ticket – whether that is the individual operator such as South Western Rail or GWR, or a third-party booking website such as Thetrainline.com.

If changing the date and time of your journey works better for you, it’s worth noting that most companies have increased flexibility around the summer strikes. In guidance around October’s train strikes, National Rail advised travellers that they could use tickets on the same route/operator in the three days following on from the strike dates. The Independent has contacted National Rail to clarify this will remain the case in November.

This policy usually excludes both Season Tickets and London Underground tickets.

Almost all train operators provide compensation regardless of the cause of a cancellation – which is in contrast to airlines, who do not need to pay out if the delay is beyond their control.

What if the strikes cause a delay rather than a cancellation?

If your UK train is delayed due to the strikes, you are legally entitled to “Delay Repay” compensation. This depends on how many minutes you were delayed due to the train disruption.

  • If you were delayed 15-29 minutes, you can claim 25 per cent of the price of a single ticket and 12.5 per cent on a return ticket.
  • If you were delayed 30-59 minutes, you can claim 50 per cent on a single ticket, or 25 per cent on a return ticket.
  • If you were delayed 60-119 minutes, you can claim 100 per cent on a single ticket and 50 per cent on a return ticket.
  • If you were delayed 120 minutes or more, you can claim a full refund on both single and return tickets.

What if I have a Season Ticket?

Season Ticket holders (monthly or longer tickets) who choose not to travel on strike days can claim 100 per cent compensation for those days through the “Delay Repay” system. You should go to the refunds area on the website of the operator or retailer you bought the ticket from.

You can also apply for an overall refund for a whole Season Ticket based on strike disruption, going through the retailer who sold you the ticket. Network Rail explains: “Refunds are calculated from the date you return your season ticket and will be the difference between the price you paid and the cost of a ticket or tickets for the period for which you have used the ticket up to and including the date you request a refund.” A £10 admin fee applies.

Northern Railway’s refunds area


How do I claim a refund or Delay Repay compensation?

Your refund should come from the original retailer of your ticket – be that an individual rail operator or a third-party website. For most operators, a dedicated Delay Repay or refund page will appear under their “Help” tab.

Third party booking site Thetrainline.com advises: “As soon as we’re told by the train operators that your train is cancelled or rescheduled, we’ll be in contact to offer you an online refund. Please hold tight in the meantime.”

You should try to claim within 28 days, but some train companies allow longer.

To claim, you’ll need to provide your contact details, a copy of your ticket or proof of purchase, as well as details of your journey (origin and destination stations, scheduled departure time, and the time you arrived).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here