When my UK train is cancelled, I can travel on a later service. When travel disruptions are severe, I may instead choose to have my ticket endorsed by station staff for travel the following day, when this is preferable.

If I choose to travel the following day due to severe disruptions (many cancelled trains, others 1–2 hours delayed, probably leading me to miss my last train home and have to take another taxi, etc.), what is the nature of compensation am I entitled to?

Rule 42 of the Conditions of Carriage states that I am entitled to a 50% refund on a single ticket if my train is more than 60 minutes delayed, but does not explicitly cover the situation where I voluntarily agree to change my date of travel due to severe disruptions.

Had I tried to travel today, I would most likely have missed my last connecting train home and travel home by taxi, arriving several hours late.

Edit: The train is operated by Virgin Trains West Coast but was booked through Great Western Railways.

2 Answers 2


Reading the document, I assume that your question is related to UK, isn't it? :)

I have found a page that details more or less what you are looking for. If your train is cancelled or delayed, you are entitled for a full refund. Then for the compensation, it is usually 50% of the ticket price.

You need to take into considerations that this compensation might not be applicable in special situations when the delay or cancellation is out of the control of the operator (like a war, act of god, etc...).

It also looks like you have different policies for each company so it is hard to provide a very specific answer without the train company name.

Few other points :

  • if you decide to delay your travel because of the circumstances, you will probably want to seek the train company agreement and rather not assume that you'll be covered de facto because of the circumstances. Try to get a signed paper to cover yourself.
  • compensation will usually not go beyond the ticket value. You will always find exceptions to this common rule but usually companies try to restrict compensation to ticket value.
  • compensation will usually take the form of vouchers rather than money and you are likely to eventually obtain more in vouchers than money...
  • if the train company has no other choice, they might pay for the hotel but this isn't automatic at all and they will make all they can to avoid it. They will potentially have to pay also for your meals but I am not sure if this is detailed anywhere in laws or conventions (vs airlines where everything is pretty well set).
  • they might also offer to transport you via a bus rather than a train (which isn't really a compensation but rather a workaround in this situation).

For Virgin Trains West Coast, check out this form to know the compensation you are entitled to.

  • 2
    While everything you say here is broadly speaking true, it's also all covered in the question. ("Endorsing" is the appproval from the train company). You don't manage to answer the core question -" do I still get compensation for being late if I agree to a delay?. Welcome to the site however - that's a well formatted and researched attempt at answering.
    – CMaster
    May 10, 2016 at 9:15
  • Hello, welcome to the site! UK is correct (see tag). I will edit the TOC into the question! I believe the full refund in case of cancellation applies when I decide not to travel at all. They did offer bus transportation, but I was aware I would miss the last train home so they would have provided replacement taxi there. Last time I got home by bus+train+taxi I only got home by 02:00 (scheduled time 22:42). As I'm staying with my wife a 24-hour postponement at my own expense is my voluntary preferred choice endorsed (i.e. allowed in a written document) by the TOC.
    – gerrit
    May 10, 2016 at 9:35
  • Edited to add the relevant compensation form for that company. Hope this helps :)
    – Laurent
    May 10, 2016 at 9:48
  • @Maurice Thanks, but I was already aware of it. It covers delay and cancellation, but my situation doesn't cover either exactly.
    – gerrit
    May 10, 2016 at 16:22

I'm going to attempt to answer this as best I can, as I've had similar issues in the past; but I don't believe there is a single straight answer.

In cases where I've vastly changed my travel plans (but still travelled) as a result of delays, I've contacted the operator's customer services and explained the situation. In a lot of cases, they decided to award compensation for the delay that I would have incurred had I actually travelled on my originally intended journey and time. In this case, I'm thinking specifically of a CrossCountry journey I made that became heavily delayed where I ended up diverting from Derby to Crewe. They gave me compensation as if I'd travelled to Derby.

I would assume that this same idea would apply to travelling on different days; but in any case, it sounds like it's something that's largely not officially specified, and train operators have their own ways of dealing with it. Specifically, I can't imagine any operator deciding not to compensate you at all; but I don't think a specific passage that guarantees you compensation can be pointed to.

  • 2
    "I can't imagine any operator deciding not to compensate you at all" really? I can imagine that quite easily, and unfortunately the TOC I can imagine doing it is Virgin. Hopefully the OP will fare better.
    – MadHatter
    Mar 21, 2017 at 12:39
  • 1
    @MadHatter Really? The impression I get from VTWC's customer service is usually "rail vouchers first; ask questions later"...
    – Muzer
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:09
  • 1
    I am really very happy for you!
    – MadHatter
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:16

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