How late does your train need to be to claim compensation in Northern Ireland?
Most of us have found ourselves in the situation where we've had an important meeting, job interview or appointment to get to, only for the train to be delayed, or even cancelled.
So what are your rights if you find that your plans are scuppered thanks to a delayed or cancelled train? And how late does a train need to be to qualify for compensation?
The rights of rail passengers in Northern Ireland aren't quite the same as the rest of the UK.
The policies around compensation can change, but the following information is correct as of April 2018.
It almost goes without saying, but you are entitled to a full refund if your train was cancelled - no matter what type of ticket you bought.
How late does a train have to be to qualify for compensation?
Unlike the rest of the UK, the National Rail Conditions of Travel don't apply in Northern Ireland (although the Section 75 and Consumer Rights Act rules do).
Translink, the company which runs NI Railways, does have its own 'Delay Repay' scheme, but this isn't quite the same as the version you'll find in England, Scotland and Wales.
While the delay times are similar, there are some important differences:
• you will be offered compensation in vouchers, and you won't be able to claim cash instead• Translink will not pay out if the delay is caused by crime, security alerts, extreme weather or anything beyond its control
Translink has the following policy on compensation for delayed trains.
Single tickets: If you're delayed between 30-59 mins you are entitled to 50% of the ticket priceIf you're delayed between 60-119 mins you are entitled to 100% of the ticket priceIf you're delayed more than 120 mins you will get the cost of a return ticket for that journey
Return tickets:If you're delayed between 30-59 mins you are entitled to 50% of the fare for that leg of the journey backIf you're delayed between 60-119 mins you are entitled to 100% of that legIf you're delayed more than 120 mins you will get 100% of the full return ticket
Season tickets:The same rules apply as above for one-off delays, but compensation will be calculated based on the proportional daily cost of the price paid for the ticket.
For more information visit the Translink website.
How to claim for compensation
You will need to claim from the train company which was running the delayed service, even if you booked the ticket via a different website, within 28 days of the delay.
You can do this by visiting the train company’s website, and most have online forms you can fill out. You’ll probably need to upload a picture of your ticket, so be sure to keep it.
Translink have a web page where you can download the form.
What if you're not happy with the train company's response?
If you are unsatisfied with the response from your train company you can take your complaint to Transport Focus.
They will take a second look at your claim and make an independent decision. They will expect you to have complained directly to the train company first.