Rail travel

As a train passenger in Europe, you are protected by special legislation. These rights are based on three basic principles:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Accurate, timely and accessible information;
  • Immediate, proportional assistance.

These basic rights of train passengers apply to all international rail travel services in the EU. You can consult the rules in Regulation 1371/2007.

Jongeman zit op een bankje te wachten op de trein

Good to know

To what information am I entitled before my journey?

As a train passenger in Europe, you must at least receive the following information before your journey:

  • General terms and conditions that apply to the agreement;
  • Time schedules and conditions pertaining to the quickest route and the lowest rates;
  • Facilities for boarding and exiting the train and on board for passengers with bicycles, a physical handicap or reduced mobility;
  • Availability of seats in smoking and non-smoking cars, first and second class, couchettes and sleeping cars;
  • Activities that may interrupt or delay the services;
  • Procedures to reclaim your lost luggage and to file complaints.

To what information am I entitled during my journey?

During your train journey in Europe, you must at least receive information about:

  • Services available on board;
  • The next station;
  • Any delays;
  • The most important connecting services;
  • Safety issues.

My train was delayed or cancelled. Do I have a right to compensation?

If the train is expected to be delayed for more than sixty minutes, you can choose between the following forms of compensation:

  • Refund of the full cost of your ticket;
  • Refund of the cost of the part of the journey you did not complete;
  • Refund of the cost of the part of the journey you did complete.

The latter compensation applies when your journey has become futile in light of the original travel plan. In that case, you also have a right to a return journey at the earliest opportunity to your point of departure.

You can also choose to continue your journey along the normal or an alternative route. This occurs under similar conditions, at the earliest opportunity or at a later date of your choosing.

Financial compensation

You can claim compensation for the delay from the railway company if you opt to continue your journey in spite of the delay. The minimum compensation is:

  • 25% of the cost of your ticket in the event of a delay between 60-119 minutes;
  • 50% of the cost of your ticket in the event of a delay of 120 minutes or more.

Your right to compensation lapses if the cancellation, delay or missed connection is the result of force majeure.

I have a physical disability and I want to travel by train. What are my rights?

If you have a physical disability or reduced mobility, you have the right to travel with the same level of ease as other people. Railway companies and service staff have to provide equal access to you. Reservations and tickets may not cost extra.

You must be offered assistance free of charge if you have a physical disability and are getting on or off the train. You must request this assistance from the railway company at least forty-eight hours in advance. They will then tell you when and where to report to receive the assistance. This time may not be longer than sixty minutes before the train’s time of departure. If no specific time is mentioned, you must report at least thirty minutes before departure.

At your request, railway companies, organisations selling tickets and tour operators must provide information about:

  • The accessibility of trains;
  • The conditions when getting on and off a touring car;
  • The on-board facilities.

I want to file a complaint about a railway company. How can I do that?

If you believe that a railway company did not take your rights as a train passenger into account, you must first contact the railway company itself. They must reply to your complaint within a month. In some cases, the railway company may take up to three months to reply to your complaint. In that case, they must inform you by what date you may expect a response from them.

If you are not satisfied with the answer you received, you can file a complaint with the national enforcement authority. In the Netherlands, that is the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate.