Last checked: 29/10/2021

Rail passenger rights

Travel and coronavirus

EU rules on rail passenger rights apply when you travel by rail within the EU , and generally apply to all rail journeys and services.

Warning

EU countries can decide to exempt some rail services. These exceptions may apply to urban, suburban, regional, long-distance domestic trains as well as international trains that start or finish their journey outside the EU. Check before you book your rail trip.

When you buy your ticket, the railway company or ticket vendor must give you clear information on:

During your trip, the train operator must give information about on-board services, delays, security and safety issues and connecting services. If your train is delayed or cancelled, the operator must give you information on the situation in real time and provide information on your rights and obligations.

What went wrong?

How to claim your rights?

If you think your rights have not been respected, you should first send your complaint to the railway company, who must reply within 1 month. If you don't receive a reply from the railway company within 1 month or you are not satisfied with the reply, you can complain to the relevant national authority in your countryPDF document.  The national authority should provide you with a non-binding legal opinion on how to proceed with your claim.

You can also try to resolve your dispute using out-of-court procedures or an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity (ADR).  If you bought your ticket online, you can submit your complaint via the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. ADR and ODR are only available to EU residents.

You may wish to resort to formal legal action and submit a claim for compensation under EU rules using the European Small Claims procedure. You may also bring the matter before the courts in the country where the rail operator is registered. The time limits for bringing an action against a railway operator in a national court are defined in accordance with national rules on the limitation of actions in each EU country.

You can also consult your local European Consumer Centre for help and advice on problems related to rail passenger rights.

Your train was cancelled

If you are delayed due to a cancelled train, meaning you would arrive at your final destination with a delay of more than 60 minutes, you have the right to:

If you decide to continue your journey as planned or accept alternative transport to your destination, you may be entitled to compensation.

Compensation – cancellation

You will not receive compensation if:

Your train was delayed

If you are informed that your train will arrive at your final destination with a delay of at least 1 hour, you have the right to:

If you decide to continue your journey as planned or to accept alternative transport to your destination, you may be entitled to compensation.

Compensation - delay

You will not receive compensation if:

Your luggage was lost, damaged or delayed

You may take items of luggage (including animals), that can be easily handled on board with you. Other large or bulky items, such as articles or animals likely to annoy, inconvenience or cause damage to other passengers, should be sent as registered luggage (in line with your rail operator's general conditions of carriage). These items will be transported in the baggage car of the train.

If your registered luggage is lost or damaged, you have a right to compensation except in certain circumstances, such as where your luggage was inadequately packed or unfit for transport. If there is a delay in the delivery of your registered luggage, you also have a right to compensation, unless this was due to a mistake on your part or because of circumstances beyond the control of the train operator.

Compensation amounts

If you have been injured in a train accident, or you are a dependant of a victim of a fatal train accident, you are entitled to compensation of up to a maximum amount of €1,400 for lost or damaged hand luggage (this also applies to any animals you may have brought with you).

You were injured in a train accident

If you are injured in a train accident, you are entitled to compensation, with an advance payment to be made within 15 days of the accident to cover your immediate needs.

You are a dependant of a victim of a fatal train accident

If you are a dependant of a victim of a fatal train accident, you have the right to compensation, with an advance payment to be made within 15 days of the accident to cover your immediate needs. This advance payment is at least €21,000 per victim.

See also

FAQs

EU legislation

Need more information on rules in a specific country?

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