Rail passenger rights - leafletRail passenger rights

EU rail passenger rights generally apply to all international rail journeys within the EU. National governments can decide for themselves whether or not these rights also apply to domestic rail services (regional, urban, suburban transport) and international services that start or finish their journey outside the EU.


When buying a train ticket, you may not be charged a higher price because of your nationality or where you are buying the ticket from.

Delay or cancellation

If your train is delayed or cancelled, you have the right to adequate and timely information. In case of a cancellation or a delay of more than 1 hour, you have a choice between re-routing or a refund. A refund, where relevant, includes a free journey back to the initial departure point. Re-routing should be offered under comparable travel conditions at the earliest opportunity, or rebooking at a later date of your convenience. You will also be offered additional assistance such as meals and refreshments and, if necessary, accommodation.


In addition, you are entitled to a financial compensation of 25% to 50% of the ticket price – depending on the length of delay (25% in case of a delay of 1-2 hours, 50% in case of a delay of more than 2 hours). If you were informed of a delay before buying the ticket, you will not receive any compensation.

Liability towards passenger and luggage

Rail undertakings can, under certain circumstances, be held liable for injury or death resulting from an accident. In case of lost or damaged (registered) luggage, passengers may also be entitled to compensation.


If you are not satisfied with how your rights have been applied, you should first contact the rail undertaking. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can lodge a complaint with the National Enforcement Body in your country of residence.

For more information and advice on your rights and how you can get a refund or compensation, visit the ‘Your Europe’ passenger rights website. Rail passenger rights legislation, policy documents and studies can be found here.


The European Commission would like to revise the rights of passengers in railway transport (Regulation 1371/2007). To this end, it has published several documents together with proposed amendments and possible implications. The proposal for the recast is probably the most interesting. It contains some statements from different interest groups on request for change, and from page 14 onwards a regulation text with changes.

EPF has issued a statement as a reaction to the proposed Recast of Regulation (EC) 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations. The Regulation proposal 2017/0237  can be summarized as follows:

  • Member States can still derogate from the Regulation for regional and suburban rail services and urban transport. But mainline and national services are no more exempted.
  • Compensation principle in case of delays for connecting trains – but railway undertakings can escape it if they inform customers that they don’t accept this principle.
  • More obligations for ticket vendors (different from rail undertakings), infrastructure managers and station managers.
  • Exemption of compensation obligation for delays caused by strong meteorological or major natural circumstances.

The EPF statement can be downloaded here.

EPF welcomed the position taken by the Parliaments in its plenary vote of 15th November 2018; this vote reflected the need for passengers’ rights to be properly protected in the event of disruptions to rail services. The trilogue agreement of 1st October 2020 is far removed from the Parliament’s laudable objectives.

In a nutshell:

  • Passengers with through tickets are not guaranteed protection if they are using the services of more than one railway undertaking over the length of the whole journey;
  • The exclusion of suburban and regional services from the scope of the Regulation ignores the needs of 9 out of 10 of Europe’s rail passengers;
  • Exemption of domestic rail services by Member States for another 5-year period is difficult to understand;
  • Last but not least, the Force Majeure provision may encourage rail undertakings to evade their responsibilities to their customers and give rise to disputed, protracted interpretations.

The EPF statement can be consulted here.