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I'm aware that, under the Flight Delay Compensation Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, airlines flying to the EU, and EU airlines flying from the EU have certain obligations in the event of delays.

Is there anything similar for long distance cross-border trains within the European Union? During long delays, are there any things that the operator should be doing / offering to passengers during that time?

(This question inspired by a Eurostar delay, but ideally should cover other EU long distance trains too, as I've been delayed on those on other journeys...)

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Yes, there is a similar regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations. Its application is mandatory for international trains operating within the EU. Member states may excempt domestic long distance traffic during a transition period. The regulation does not apply for domestic, regional traffic.

Summarized, it gives the passengers the right to

  • a refund of 25% of the ticket price in case of a delay of 60 to 119 minutes at the destination station
  • a refund of 50% of the ticket price in case of a delay of 120 minutes or more
  • meals and refreshments within reasonable limits
  • accommodation where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary
  • transport to the departure or arrival point if the train is blocked on the track

The refund must be made in cash, if the passenger requests so.

You can find a more complete layman-friendly summary of the regulations here.

Since international train travel in most cases involve several train operators, it may be difficult to find the right operator to contact for a refund. Usually, you can contact the operator, from which you bought your ticket.

It is perhaps also worth to notice, that some EU countries have national regulations and some train operators have their own refund conditions, which are more favourable for the passengers than this. E.g. in the UK, you can in most cases get a 50% refund in case of a 30 minutes delay and a 100% refund if your train is delayed more than one hour.

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    That 25-50% refund rule exists for domestic trains within Finland as well, but the requirement is that you should ask for it, by filling up a form online. – downhand Sep 4 '15 at 20:25
  • However the UK allows the refund in the form of vouchers, which is not so useful – Calchas Sep 5 '15 at 15:46
  • @Calchas: There is nothing in the EU regulation prohibiting the refund in form of vouchers and offering vouchers is common in other EU countries as well. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Sep 6 '15 at 1:07
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There are various compensation rules for long-distance trains, both cross-border and national.

Edit: The compensation rules for Deutsche Bahn can be found here. They explain compensation for delays of more than one or two hours, follow-up transportation in case of missed connections, and reimbursements for overnight accommodations.

The page also has some links on Europe-wide and other European regulations.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • +1 for the useful link, even if Tor-Einar's answer is more general (+1 to him as well of course!) – Relaxed Sep 5 '15 at 8:07

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