Rail Travel

Rail Travel

These basic requirements apply to all rail transport services within the EU.

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.

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.


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

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.

Luggage liability 

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.

Carrier insurance

Rail companies must be adequately ensured to cover their liabilities in respect of passengers and luggage.


Domestic and international rail services are regulated by these EU rail passenger rights:


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.

Disability and/or 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 –

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


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, as follows:

    • 25% of the fare paid for delays of 60 – 119 minutes
    • 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 for delay/cancellation of service 

For delays of 60+ minutes, passengers should be offered:

    • meals and refreshments
    • accommodation
    • transportation between the station and the accommodation
    • where the train is blocked, transport from the train to the railway station or to the final destination of the service
    • alternative transport if railway service cannot resume

Advance payment for death or injury

Where a passenger is killed or injured in a train accident, the rail company must make an advance payment for the passenger’s immediate needs and those of his or her dependents within 15 days. In the event of a death, payment is of a minimum of €21,000.


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.

As of June 2023, the following consumer rights and rules have been added to existing legislation:

  1. Self-Rerouting Rights for Affected Rail Passengers
    Train passengers affected by disruptions, if not provided with an alternative within 100 minutes, now have the right to self-rerouting. They can independently arrange alternative travel via rail or bus and are eligible for reimbursement by carriers for reasonably incurred additional ticket costs.
    Rail companies also must offer ‘through-tickets’, granting passengers extended rights for missed connections, including ticket compensation, overnight accommodation and refreshments.
  2. Access to Real-Time Information 
    Rail companies are obliged to supply real-time dynamic traffic and travel information to passengers, ticket vendors and tour operators.
  3. Enhanced Accessibility for Passengers with Reduced Mobility
    New provisions enhance accessibility for persons with disabilities or reduced mobility, and their accompanying individuals are entitled to free travel and seating proximity. The advance notice period for mobility assistance requests is now 24 hours.
  4. Stronger Consumer Complaint Mechanisms
    New rules strengthen complaint-handling mechanisms and emphasise collaboration among national authorities for cross-border complaints, including an EU-wide standardised compensation and reimbursement form.
  5. Clarification on ‘Force Majeure
    Train delays or cancellations caused by exceptional circumstances, such as extreme weather or terrorist attacks are not covered by compensation. Staff strikes by rail carrier personnel, however, are not considered force majeure, and the exemption does not absolve carriers from other obligations, including ticket reimbursement and assistance provision.
  6. Enhanced Bicycle Transport on Trains
    The new legislation also sets rules for railway companies and national transport authorities in the Member States to implement measures that will increase and improve the transport of bicycles on trains.


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, which can be accessed here.


The National Transport Authority is the designated enforcement body for EU rail passengers rights in Ireland. If you have an issue with a rail operator in Ireland, please submit your complaint here.


Learn more about your EU rail passenger rights here.