Everything you need to know about claiming compensation when your Southern train is late or cancelled

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TRAIN delays and cancellations can cause misery, but if you're affected you often have a right to get some or all of your money back.

Here’s what you need to know.

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

How late does my train have to be before I can make a claim?

Southern passengers can claim compensation for delays of as little as 15 minutes.

How much money could I get back?

It depends on the length of the delay.

For delays of 15 to 29 minutes, you can reclaim a quarter of the single fare paid, or a quarter of the affected portion of a return ticket.

For delays of 30 to 59 minutes, you can reclaim half of the single fare paid, or half of the affected portion of a return ticket.

For delays of between one and two hours, you can claim the full cost of a single ticket.

For delays of two hours or more, you can claim the full cost of a single or return ticket.

Does it matter what caused the delay?

No, Southern has signed up to the national Delay Repay scheme, which pays compensation regardless of who was to blame for any delays.

What if my train was cancelled?

If your train was cancelled and you had to take a later train, you can claim if your journey as a whole was delayed by 15 minutes or more - even if this later train was running on time.

You’ll have to let them know which train you ended up taking.

What if an emergency timetable was operating?

Then any delays will be measured against this emergency timetable, not the original timetable.

What if I decided not to travel?

Then it’s a different process. If you decided not to travel because your train was cancelled or delayed, you can claim a full refund on your ticket by returning it to the original retailer. Under the National Rail Conditions of Travel, this applies to all tickets, including those sold as non-refundable.

How long do I have to lodge a claim?

You must make your claim within 28 days of your delayed journey.

How do I make a Delay Repay claim?

You can claim online by filling in this form: delayrepay.southernrailway.com/customer-details

You can also claim by post, but this will limit the ways you can receive payment.

Can’t they refund me automatically?

Southern does do this - but only for some passengers.

People using Southern’s Key Smartcard are notified automatically if they are eligible to claim compensation for a delay. If this applies to you, you should receive an email with a link to a ready-made claim form.

Do I need to keep my ticket?

Yes! Don’t let it get swallowed up by any automated ticket gates. Instead ask a member of station staff to let you through. You will need your ticket to prove you were travelling that day.

If you don’t have your ticket any longer, you can try to claim using a ticket receipt as proof of purchase.

How will I be paid?

You can ask to be paid in a variety of ways, such as BACS transfer, PayPal, cheque or rail vouchers.

I travel using a season ticket. Can I claim compensation?

Yes, you claim in the same way, but the way they work out how much to repay you is a bit complicated.

If you have a weekly season ticket, for instance, that is considered to equate to 10 one-way journeys, so if you’re due to be repaid the cost of one journey it will be worked out on that basis.

I travelled using a smartcard, Oyster card or contactless payment. Can I claim?

Yes you can. For details of how you can claim, visit https://www.southernrailway.com/help-and-support/journey-problems/delay-repay-compensation

How long will they take to pay out?

Rail operators should make a decision about a claim within a month.

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern, dealt with 99.9 per cent of claims within 20 working days, according to figures for the first half of 2018/19.

What if the disruption left me out of pocket in other ways?

Delay Repay won’t give out compensation beyond the cost of the rail ticket. If your delay caused you to miss a concert, for example, you can instead try claiming compensation under the Consumer Rights Act. But this would only work if the train company had caused the delay.

My journey wasn’t delayed but I was unhappy with the service for a different reason - can I make a claim?

If you are unhappy with the service you received for another reason, it might be worth asking for some sort of reimbursement by lodging a complaint on the Southern website or calling 03451 27 29 20.

What can I do if I’m unhappy with the decision about my claim?

The new Rail Ombudsman service, set up in November 2018, aims to sort out unresolved customer complaints. Phone 0330 094 0362 or visit www.railombudsman.org