Train Refunds

Did you know that if your train is delayed you can claim a refund? I had been taking a train almost every day for a few months before I found out about this. How much refund depends on how late the train is, with a full refund only available if the train is over two hours late. I probably missed out on £20-30 of refunds in three months.

Some train companies give refunds if the train is 15 minutes late, including some Virgin services, but not the one I use.

The first time that I applied for a refund was at the end of January. I Googled Virgin Train refunds, found the correct website, filled in my details and uploaded a photo of my tickets. A day later I received an email telling me that I’d not provided the correct information, and that I needed to supply proof. Seeing as I had given them a photo of my ticket, along with details of my booking number from Trainline, I asked what I had missed. No reply was forthcoming, but a week later I received a cheque for £8.25. The second time, I supplied the same information as before, and received a cheque for £4.13 a week later.

The cynic in me would suggest that the first time that you apply for a refund, Virgin automatically send an email saying that you’ve not supplied the correct details, hoping that most people will be put off.

Although, it’s cliched to be cynical about Virgin Trains.

Bikes on Trains

Taking your bike on a train, it sucks, doesn’t it. Not in mainland Europe, obviously, but in the UK. I have the misfortune to have to take my bike on a train every week, and the experience is nothing like the photo below, which is from Germany.

german-train

It’s a pain booking your bike onto the train, as it can’t be done online, and you have to already have a ticket for your journey. If you’re unlucky you could buy a ticket and then find that there’s no space for your bike, and hope that you can then swap your ticket. Of course some trains can’t be booked onto, so you have to take your chance, and if it’s busy you might be left on the platform.

You might not be able to get off the train either. The Virgin East Coast trains which I use, someone else has to open the door. It’s the duty of the train manager to ensure that you get off the train. Most times they leave it to the platform staff.

What if they forget. Don’t laugh, it happened to me. By the time that I realised that no-one was going to open the door, it was too late, and I was off to Warrington. The train manager was very apologetic and gave me a free coffee (wow!), but Virgin didn’t give me a refund. At Warrington I caught the next train back to Wigan. Since then I have made a point of seeing the train manager, making sure he knows that I’m on the train. As a back-up, I have a route plotted in my Garmin to direct me from Warrington to Leigh. I don’t want to go to Warrington again, although it could be worse if I couldn’t get off in Lancaster on my way home.

Talking with the train manager isn’t always enough, as only a couple of weeks ago I had to dash through the train, pushing my way paste people who had just got on, and then wave to a member of staff to get them to open the door for my bike. Very stressful for a little Beardy.

And, don’t get me started on trying to get a refund. I’ll save that for another post, and I will try to be a little lest ranty.