Travelling by train brings an inherent risk of delays and cancellations at the best of time, let alone over the festive period and I was caught out once again by train strikes on the run up to Christmas at the time of writing this.

In essence, I booked my train tickets last September 2017 to travel in December for a weekend reunion with friends and I received e-mails and texts days before I was due to travel confirming that everything was on time with no problems envisaged.

Suffice to say, I arrived at the train station to find that my train had been cancelled, the alternative train literally locked its doors in front of me and I faced a 2 hour delay to my travel plans. That might not seem too bad but when you’re faced with a 4 hour train trip on a Friday afternoon and a return trip leaving on Sunday lunch time, it eats in to your weekend and this is an annual reunion with friends.

I had booked my tickets with Trainline, which is a ticketing agent and any disputes need to be resolved direct with them regardless of who is to blame for the strikes and delays. Your contract rests with them under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – no ifs or buts.

I wrote to Trainline when I returned home that Sunday evening with the following e-mail;


In essence, my train was cancelled days before I was due to leave for a weekend in Liverpool, yet I received texts and e-mails saying that everything was fine.

At no point did I receive anything to the contrary and as a result I lost valuable time in trying to get to Liverpool for a weekend with friends, which turned out to be little more than 1 day and effectively ruined my trip that I had been looking forward to for months.

I would be grateful if you could kindly consider giving me a full refund under the circumstances.

I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you in advance for your assistance.

I received an automated response saying that I would receive a reply within 4 days, which never arrived.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt and followed up with another e-mail 2.5 weeks later once Christmas and New Year had elapsed;


I would be grateful for your early response as I have not had a reply to date.

Furthermore, I was never given the opportunity to make other arrangements by virtue of not being advised of any train cancellations.  In fact, I was advised otherwise and as a result my weekend was ruined.

I am seeking a full refund as a result and I look forward to your early response.

Best wishes,


My follow up e-mail elicited a response within 20 minutes confirming that a full refund would be issued under the circumstances and I simply had to post the train tickets by recorded delivery to complete the process.

It is worth noting here that you are entitled to 50% compensation if your train is more than 30 minutes late and a full refund if your train is more than 1 hour late. This is explained here

I thought that was the end of the story. You can read how I concluded it here

The crux of succeeding with any complaints is to be polite, succinct, summarise the issues you wish to address and the outcome you seek either as compensation or to restore you to the position you were in before you entered in to the contract.

I cover various aspects and real-life scenarios involving the Consumer Rights Act 2015 complete with templates based on real-life test cases that work every time in my consumer book.

Do you have any stories to share about trains, delays and compensation?

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