Compensation if your train is delayed

Does your train arrive at its destination with more than sixty minutes delay, or has your train been cancelled? Then you have certain rights. You will find an answer to the following questions here :

To what are you entitled if your train is delayed or cancelled?

You have the choice between:

  • a full refund of your ticket, both for the route you have already travelled (in vain), and for the part of the journey you have not travelled
  • continuation of your trip or an alternative connection to your destination. The above applies under the same transport conditions, at the most favourable travelling times, or at a later date if that suits you better.

And the railway company should offer you the following, free-of-charge:

  • food and beverages, depending on the waiting time
  • if the train is blocked on the track: transport between the place where the train was stranded and the station
  • if the situation requires it: hotel accommodation and transport from the station to the hotel

Please note: The railway company must indicate the cancellation or the delay on your ticket. You can then use this as proof for claiming compensation.

What compensation can you claim?

You simply continue your journey? Even then, you are still entitled to financial compensation:

  • Was the train delayed between 60 to 119 minutes? Then you can claim 25 percent of the price you paid for your ticket.
  • Was the train delayed by 120 minutes or more? Then you can claim 50 percent of the price you paid for your ticket.

Please note: if the amended travelling times were already announced before you purchased your ticket, you are not entitled to compensation for this delay.

Good to know: Do you hold a railcard or a rail season ticket? And have you often had to put up with trains that depart late, or arrive late, or don't even run at all during its period of validity? In that case, you are entitled to appropriate compensation for these train delays. The exact compensation depends on the transport conditions of the railway company.

What happens in the case of force majeure?

Is the cancellation, delay or missed connection due to force majeure? In this case, the railway company has no obligation to offer you an overnight stay at a hotel, or to pay for the costs of your overnight stay afterwards.

In concrete terms: you will not receive a refund of your hotel room if the train delay is due to:

  • external circumstances that could not have been avoided by the railway company
  • the behaviour of a third party that could not have been prevented by the railway company
  • a mistake you made as a traveller

In these situations, however, you can still claim compensation of 25 or 50% for the train delay itself. This is contained in a judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union.