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Updated March 2020 

In light of the COVID-19 travel disruption, the European Consumer Centre Ireland is looking at what rights have changed for train passengers at March 2020. 

Read about the latest changes here:  

COVID-19: Consumer advice for bus and rail travel at March 2020


Six basic rights apply to all rail transport services within the EU. More rights apply to international rail sTrainervices.


Six basic rights:

·         Buying tickets – tickets must be available for purchase via staffed stations, ticket counters, selling machines, or the internet. In the absence of all of the above, rail carriers must have a facility to enable passengers to buy tickets on the train.

·         Safe travelling – rail carriers, infrastructure managers, and station managers must take adequate measures to ensure passengers’ personal safety both on board trains and in stations.

·         Rights of passengers with a disability or reduced mobility – passengers are entitled to purchase tickets and reservations without any additional charge. Station managers and rail carriers must develop and apply non-discriminatory access rules.

·         Information on accessibility – at the passenger’s request, rail companies, ticket vendors, and tour operators must also provide information on the accessibility of rail transport services, passenger coaches, and on-board facilities.

·         Compensation for injury or death and liability for luggage – rail companies must compensate passengers and/or their families in the event of injury or death, provided that the cause of the injury or death was not out of the control of the rail company. The company must also compensate for loss of or damage to hand luggage in the event of injury or death, and damage to registered luggage.

·         Proper insurance – rail companies must be adequately ensured to cover their liabilities in respect of passengers and luggage.



Other rights applying to international rail services:

·         Right to information – rail companies and station managers must inform passengers about their rights. Rail companies must also keep passengers informed about any delays or disruptions to international rail transport services, and may also provide information on train offers and tickets.

·         Assistance for persons with disabilities/reduced mobility – rail companies and station managers must provide assistance to passengers with reduced mobility or a disability when boarding international trains. The passenger should provide at least 48 hours’ notice of the intended journey, using the communication tool indicated by the rail company (e.g. by phone or via a certain website). Assistance should also be provided at connecting stations and the passenger’s destination.

·         Reimbursement and rerouting –  if a delay of more than 60 minutes is anticipated in reaching the final destination, passengers must be offered a choice between

o   reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket for the part(s) of the journey not made, AND for the part already made if the journey no longer serves any purpose in relation to your original travel plan

o   continuation or rerouting, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at the earliest opportunity

o   continuation or rerouting, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at a later date of convenience to the passenger.

·         Compensation – passengers are entitled to compensation if their train arrives at least one hour late at the final destination, provided the cause of the delay was within the control of the rail carrier. Compensation is calculated as follows –

o   25% of the fare paid for delays between 60 and 119 minutes

o   50% of the fare paid for delays of more than 120 minutes

Payment should be made within one month of the passenger’s submitting a claim.


·         Assistance in case of delay/cancellation – passengers must be kept informed of the situation, including the estimated departure time and estimated arrival time, as soon as such information is available. In the case of a delay of more than 60 minutes, passengers should also be offered –

o   meals and refreshments, if they can reasonably be supplied

o   hotel or other accommodation, including transportation between the station and same

o   where the train is blocked on the track, transport from the train to the railway station or to the final destination of the service, where and when physically possible.

Rail carriers must organise alternative transport services for passengers where the railway service cannot be continued any more.


·         Advance payment in the case of death or injury – where a passenger is killed or injured in a train accident, the rail company which was performing the transport service must make an advance payment that meets the costs of that passenger’s immediate needs and those of his or her dependents. Such payment must be made within 15 days of the establishment of the identity of the natural person entitled to compensation. In the event of a death, payment shall amount to at least €21,000.


·         Right of complaint – rail carriers must have a complaints mechanism available to all passengers. As a rule, complaints should be made to the rail company which issued the ticket. A claim may also be submitted to any other rail company involved in the transport, and/or to the authority responsible for the enforcement of the passenger rights Regulation in your country.




In principle, the Regulation applies to all rail journeys and services throughout the EU provided by one or more licensed railway undertakings. However, Member States are permitted to grant certain temporary or permanent exemptions.

 Ireland has the following exemptions in place as at October 2013 –

·         Domestic rail services: all provisions of the Regulation except for those provisions relating to availability of tickets, liability for passengers and luggage, adequate insurance of rail carriers, the right to transport of passengers with a disability or reduced mobility, the right of disabled persons and those with reduced mobility to information on accessibility, and the personal security of passengers.

·         Urban, suburban, regional rail services: as with domestic rail services.

·         International rail services: not applicable.


Information on exemptions granted by other Member States can be accessed here.

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