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.
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 has revised the rights of passengers in railway transport (Regulation 1371/2007). To this end, it published several documents together with proposed amendments and possible implications. EPF monitored closely the developments on this legal text since the beginning of the negotiations.
EPF has issued a statement (download here) 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.
We then 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.
During the trilogue agreement of 1st October 2020, we understood that many of the Parliament’s laudable objectives fell through in the negotiations. EPF issued a statement reporting our concerns regarding the new text (that can be found here). We continued working with the involved parties, through several meetings where we expressed our concerns.
On 17 May 2021, the regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU, with the transition period lasting until 7 June 2023. However, member states have until 7 June 2025 for applying Article 6(4), regarding procurement and upgrade procedures for rolling stock.
The full regulation (EU) 2021/782 can be found here.