CIV (International Convention for the transportation of Passengers, established by OTIF) rules apply in most European countries and a few nearby countries. In particular, under CIV rules, if the train operator is responsible for a delay on one leg of the journey, then the passenger must be conveyed to his destination in a reasonable manner at the carrier's expense (I'm simplifying here but that's the gist).

The treaty that establishes the CIV rules only applies to international journeys. (Some countries have similar rules for internal journeys.) Does it apply to journeys within a country as well, if there is an international connection? In particular, suppose I book trains, say, from Paris to Frankfurt with SNCF and from Frankfurt to Berlin with DB: if I miss my connection in Frankfurt, am I entitled to jump onto the next departing train (or to a hotel night if I miss the last train for the day)? Or the other way round (delayed national journey, then international journey booked through another operator)?

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    I have a feeling it may depend on the ticket for the national part, i.e. whether it's a through ticket or not (eg Paris -> Berlin via Frankfurt, or Paris -> Frankfurt then new ticket for Frankfurt -> Berlin), what kind do you normally get? – Gagravarr Aug 31 '11 at 23:24
  • I'm asking specifically about the case of tickets purchased separately. CIV clearly applies if the whole journey is purchased in a single contract, but I don't understand what it implies for different contracts (§2 and §3 in the CIV rules only apply to non-train legs if part of the same contract as a train journey, but I can't see anything about two train legs). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 31 '11 at 23:45

As I understand it, your domestic leg is only covered if:

  • It's part of a through international ticket, or...
  • It's a special ticket issued with CIV protections

For the former, DB will happily sell you a through ticket from (for example) Brussels to Berlin. This involves a change of trains at Koln, but as it's a through ticket you're covered by CIV protections all the way to Berlin (not just on the international leg from Brussels to Koln)

For the latter, certainly in the UK at least you can buy special tickets for when you're connecting to or from an international train journey. If you're going to get a Eurostar, or to get a Rail-Sail train, or returning from one, you can get a ticket to/from a special destination such as "London International (CIV)" or "London Eurostar (CIV)". These tickets extend the CIV protection onto your domestic leg. They also normally have a bonus of being valid on peak time trains, but priced closer to off peak tickets, but can only be bought when in possession of an onward international train ticket (eg eurostar ticket, Dutch Flyer rail-sail ticket). See Seat61 or National Rail for more details on how they work in the UK.

Generally speaking, if you hold a through ticket with an international component, you're covered by CIV. That could be a single international train, such as a London -> Paris Eurostar, or it could be a through ticket with a change, such as Brussels -> Berlin with a train change in Koln. A rail + sail ticket will normally also get you CIV, such as an Oxford to Dublin Ferryport, though these normally make it explicit by including CIV on the ticket. Finally you can buy a CIV connecting ticket, such as Oxford -> London International (CIV) to extend the protections onto the domestic leg.

If you don't have such a ticket, I think you're technically not covered (unless the country you're in has gone above what's required), but the train companies will often help you out all the same!

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