In the UK, for most delays, if your train is late enough you're entitled to some compensation. The exact rules vary by Train Operating Company (TOC), just to keep things fun... But most now use the "Delay Repay" scheme. The main general set of information on it is on the National Rail Enquiries website here

What happens though if your "train" turns out to be a bus? For example, during engineering works, when there are Rail Replacements buses on part of the route. These bustitution "trains" are listed in the timetable, and are operated for / on behalf of the TOC who'd normally be running the train. If one of those is late, causing your journey to be delayed enough that compensation would normally be due, does the fact that it was a bus matter?

I've read through the National Rail Enquiries page on refunds and compensation, and this handy flowchart from the Office of the Rail Regulator, but they don't seem to touch on the case of Rail Replacement buses in the mix.

(My exact situation is taking a rail replacement bus for part of the journey, and it being very delayed. Bus arrived in time to see the connecting train pulling out of the station, as staff refused to hold the train. Next train was 40 minutes later, so arrived 40 minutes late into my eventual destination, all travel on a TOC with Delay Repay kicking in at 30 minutes)

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    I think RRBuses are considered a "train" for the sake of most of the rules. So the answer would be "yes". Why not make the claim and find out?
    – CMaster
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 23:29
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    @CMaster I've got some very apologetic tweets from the TOC in question, which is normally one of the better ones, so I'm guessing they'll be paying out no matter what the rules might say. Not all companies are as good though, which leaves me wondering what the actual rules are, for if it happens again with a different route?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 0:27
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    Part IV 60. Carriage by road vehicles on this pdf
    – Him
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:43
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    I'm afraid that isn't an answer: OP is seeking a refund under the passenger's charter of the TOC involved, not under the NRCOC. The TOC can set whatever conditions it likes for refunds on delays between 30 and 60 minutes: and I don't think we can work out if Delay Repay applies without knowing the TOC in question.
    – jacoman891
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:51
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    @jacoman891 While the exact timings of a TOC's Delay Repay are specific to them, I believe that the overall scheme of Delay Repay is common across most companies. The question isn't "is this 35 minute delay on TOC X enough for their Delay Repay", it's "does a rail replacement bus trigger Delay Repay"
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


Revised answer after further research.

London TravelWatch is the independent, statutory watchdog for transport users in and around London. In these consumer affairs committee meeting notes we can read the following:
2.4 To check the legal position for passengers

The Director, Public Liaison reports that the ticketing contract entitles you to travel between the starting point and destination. It does not specify whether the service is a railway service or a replacement bus but the operator should advise you in advance if it is a bus if possible.

2.6 The rights of passengers in event of breach of conditions of service

Passengers on rail replacement services are entitled to the same conditions as these travelling on normal rail services. Therefore they are entitled to delay repay in the event of delay. The EU Regulations on rail passengers rights and obligations if enacted, will strengthen the rights of passengers to be provided with assistance and refreshments in the event of delay and full refunds in the event of severe delays leading to cancelled trips.“

The National Rail Conditions of Carriage state:

60. Carriage by road vehicles

These Conditions apply to passengers travelling and luggage, articles, animals and cycles conveyed in road vehicles provided by a Train Company or its agents unless it is made clear to you when you buy your ticket that different conditions apply. The term “train” in this context includes any road vehicle owned or operated by a Train Company or on its behalf.

Individiual conditions of carriage may override the above and a page with pointers to the individual train operating company's CoC can be found here. Some parliamentary comment can be noted on the lack of standardisation:

There is also a complete lack of standardisation. The only common element of Delay Repay schemes across the train operating companies is the 30-minute threshold for compensation—everything else differs. The circumstances in which compensation can be paid vary; some compensation schemes include the weather and planned engineering works, whereas others exclude them, so there is no clarity about what passengers will get.

Although there is a typical exclusion in the various CoCs stated as:

Delay Repay is a national scheme train companies use to compensate passengers for delays. You can claim compensation if you're delayed by more than 30 minutes when you travel with us (except when delays are caused by planned engineering work).

This appears to be related to delays relating to the original scheduled time when the timetable has been amended due to delays, e.g. from the UK Citizens advice bureau comment on engineering works :

If the train company has given advance warning of engineering works and altered the timetable you will not normally be entitled to compensation.

Virgin Trains gives this clarification:

When a specially-advertised revised timetable is in operation, for example at times of engineering work, we will be measured against the revised times.

Anecdotally some argument exists as to whether this is an absolute get-out clause, e.g. from a popular UK site discussing railway issues: http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=130857


Yesterday I travelled from St Pancras to Rainham by Southeastern. Due to engineering works the hourly morning train service was running to a special timetable with departures at xx55 rather than the xx25 in the normal timetable. As a result I wasted 30 minutes at St Pancras and arrived at Rainham 30 minutes later than I had expected.

Would this be claimable via delay repay?

No, a timetable change for planned engineering works is not a delay.

Alternatively: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2979502

No not at all. Because of the nature of the bus replacement services then there is no case for a refund.

Again the delay repay is not applicable when there are engineering works in force

The appropriate advice would appear to be to study the precise conditions of carriage of your train operating company backed by the above additional information and claim for delay repay anyway. It can't hurt to claim.

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    I'm not convinced that is the implication of the quoted text. As planned engineering work is scheduled in anyway, I think they mean that there will be no refund because your journey is taking longer. However, if the already resecheduled service is delayed, than that's caused by something beyond the planned work.
    – CMaster
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 8:22
  • @Berwyn any thoughts on CMaster's comment?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 23:33
  • @MarkMayo edited
    – Berwyn
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 1:06

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