I recently discovered that there are some general European rights, similar to those for air travel, that apply to rail journeys within Europe, detailed here. For example, there is quite a powerful-sounding right which says:

If you are told you will arrive at your final destination with a delay of at least 1 hour, you are entitled to cancel your travel plans and request an immediate refund of the cost of your ticket (sometimes in full, sometimes only for the part of the journey not made.)

However, the page also says:

European countries can decide whether or not these rights also apply to domestic trains (urban, suburban, regional, etc.) and international trains that start or finish their journey outside the EU.

So which countries apply these rights domestically? I'm particularly interested in the UK, but answers for other countries would no doubt be useful too.

  • The UK has even better rights than the EU minimums! See Delay Repay on wikipedia for the minimum, and note that many companies trigger at 30 or 40 minutes
    – Gagravarr
    Oct 22, 2015 at 18:27
  • @Gagravarr: "If you arrive more than 60 minutes late at your destination station, due to the fault of the railway, you will be entitled to a minimum of 50% of the price paid for the relevant portion of the journey (Condition 42).". That sounds worse than what I quoted... or am I missing something? Oct 22, 2015 at 18:28
  • For Cross Country trains, as a random example, 30-59 minutes late gets you 50% of the single ticket cost back, 60-119 gets you 100% of the single ticket cost back, and 120+ gets you the whole return cost back
    – Gagravarr
    Oct 22, 2015 at 18:30
  • 3
    Note that there exist EU rail passenger rights and (much older) CIV rail passenger rights.
    – gerrit
    Oct 22, 2015 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


It's true that EU "laws" are not automatically valid, instead, specific countries need to implement them in their local laws.

I will focus on the lateness part here (not luggage and/or injuries).

Some common rules not always listed include:
a) No refund if some other train with less delay (than eg. 1h) was available
b) No refund if you were informed about the delay before bying the ticket
c) Special rules (or no refund at all) for discounted tickets like week/month/year pass etc.
d) How/where to get the refund varies greatly
e) Sometimes, refunds are coupons with expiration date
f) For two-way-tickets, the price of one way is used for the calculations

Some countries, in alphabetical order (might add more later):

More than 1h late, not only regional trains: 25% refund if these 25% are at least 4€
More than 2h late, not only regional trains: 50% refund if these 50% are at least 4€

Depending on the company eg. one of these:
a) 1h 25%, 2h 50%
b) 1h 25%, 2h 50%, 3h 75%
c) 30min 20%, 1h 50%, 2h 100%
Not all trains are eligible, domestic trains can be queried online.

similar to Austria

For trains with mandatory seat reservation: 1h 25%, 2h 50%
Cancelling the journey and getting a full refund (for the part not used, if applicable) is possible too. http://www.italia.it/en/useful-info/rights-for-tourists/railway-transportation.html

Depending on the company and the delay reason eg. one of these:
a) 1h 25%, 2h 50%
c) 30min 20%, 1h 50%, 2h 100%

30min 50%, with some exceptions

Varies depending on route, train and reason.

1h 50%

1h 25%, 2h 50%, only if the refund is at least 6CHF.

1h late 50% refund, or 100% if journey cancelled

About hotel costs etc. if necessary, on many sites it is not mentioned at all, so I would not rely on that. I've seen something for Austria and Switzerland, but somewhat limited.

  • Most UK train operators have more generous compensation agreements than quoted
    – Gagravarr
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:03
  • Interesting, comprehensive list, thank you. Appears that the UK does not decide to apply these rules to domestic trains, at least not universally. Feb 17, 2016 at 14:58

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