What are the relevant passenger rights in case of international train travel in Europe? In my experience, railway carriers are often quite poor at informing travellers of their rights; people believe those rights depend on the flexibility of the ticket, but it does not depend on ticket type. The rights can not be signed away.

I am aware of the following two documents:

In addition, surely each country and each carrier has its own regulations, but do any other relevant international treaties exist within Europe?

  • I think those are the only two that apply to cross-border journeys, but you'll also be entitled to any provisions of the domestic legs that make up your journey (which might be better)
    – Gagravarr
    Nov 10, 2012 at 23:43
  • What a great question. I have asked this to the support at interrail/eurail website. I also mentioned that they should make the passenger rights a more prominent feature on their sites. If they get back to me with something in addition to what you have already stated I will put it on here.
    – Alendri
    Nov 12, 2012 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


This answer will use Germany as an example, but I mention where this is relavnt. First of all, let's note the legal system works hierarchical, at least in the European Union, as in Germany. (I strangely did not found an English Wikipedia article or so, but anyway this seems to be common).

Now, without going into too much detail (check-out the links if you want) and by proving useful links to customers actually (not only lawyers) here is what matters:

  1. As international law, CIV or International Convention for the transportation of Passengers (French: Convention Internationale pour le transport des Voyageurs) apparently includs in the COTIF (Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail). I have never seen this being relevant, however, in practice.
  2. So again, the root of all the rights in this case are the so-called EU passenger rights. If you just want to check your case, the EU has an awesome simple website survey tool (You can change the language in a selector there. And there is apparently also an app.) More “lawish”: AFAIK there are two, i.e. one a more recent revision:
  3. Afterwards, it depends on which country you are traveling. I would claim, that it matters, in which country you are currently traveling, where an accident happens (Note passenger rights cover stuff like lost luggage or death even). Anyway, for Germany, this would e.g. be the Allgemeines Eisenbahngesetz (AEG), though yet again this is likely not that relevant.
  4. Because you have the Eisenbahnverkehrs-Verordnung EVO in Germany and regulations like in § 11 for regional trains about additional passenger rights e.g.
  5. Finally, you have the terms and conditions (T&C) by the train company, and if they want, they can likely have better conditions for you. E.g. I know SNCF pays you back TGV delays already at 30min delay as a voucher. German Deutsche Bahn DB apparently also has their T&C a more flexible rule regarding changing trains Also, apparently, train companies are likely required to inform you about your passenger rights. That's why you may see some information sheets hanging around in the train or on websites.

E.g. the German Eisenbahnbundesamt EBA also has a link-list for laws.

The big question, however, that maybe warrants an explicit new question, however, remains: What about cross-border railways? (And let's not get started about stuff like Swiss and Eurostar to Great Britain.) I guess one may be especially interested in delays, re-schedules or what happens when trains got cancelled there.


Since I got an answer to my inquiry to eurail/interrail and it is too long to post in a comment I will put it here as an answer:

Thank you for your email to Eurail.Com Customer Service. Yes, as a rail passenger, you are entitled to several rights according to the European Union Law.

You can find more information on the page of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passenger-rights/en/13-rail.html

You can also find the European Union regulations on: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/rail/

Since the Eurail Pass entitles you to use the train in Europe, you are of course protected by the EU law when you will be traveling with your Eurail Pass.

I believe this boils down to the same regulations and rules that was stated in the original question, but I did not have time to go through it all to make sure. However I do find the links provided by the eurail/interrail customer service to be a lot easier to read than the actual regulation texts, which is why I have posted them here.

Also note that the first link also has maritime and air travel rights information.

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