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European rights of rail passengers

Regulation (EC) n° 1371/2007 of the European Union contains a series of measures to guarantee passenger rights and optimize the quality and efficiency of our services, including:

  • a right to information to the perparation of your journey; 
  • a right to information and assistance for disabled passengers;
  • a right to compensation in the event of delays.

Below you’ll find a summary of the most frequently asked questions about alternative travel options and compensation policies in case of heavy delays. For a complete overview of your rights, we’d like to refer you to the European Commission's information website about passenger rights.

 

1. Predictable delay of more than 60 minutes

 

If it appears before the departure that the delay affecting arrival at the final destination is expected to be over 60 minutes (compared to the predicted time on the ticket), the traveller is entitled to choose among the following dispositions:

  • a) refund of the ticket:

    The traveller may obtain a full refund of the price paid for his ticket for the uncompleted section of the journey, but also for the completed section of his journey if the trip is no longer worthwhile in the context of the traveller’s original travel plan. When relevant, the traveller who has faced disruption to his journey will also be transported back to his initial departure point at the earliest opportunity.

  • b) completion of the journey at the earliest opportunity

    The traveller can complete his journey at the earliest opportunity via another route, under similar travelling conditions, to his final destination.

  • c) completion of the journey at a later date

    The traveller can complete his journey at a later date at his own convenience via another route, under similar travelling conditions, to his final destination.

 

2. Compensation for delays

 

Unless your ticket was refunded according to point 1. a) above, you are entitled to the following compensations if your train was delayed more than 60 minutes:

  • 25% of the value of your ticket for a delay between 60 and 119 minutes included
  • 50% of the value of your ticket for a delay of 120 minutes or more

Please notice, however, that no compensation will be paid below €4.

Some train companies apply more generous compensation policy than the general European rule:

 

3. How is your delay calculated?

 

You take only one train

Your delay is represented by the difference between the time at which you should arrive according to the published timetable and the actual or scheduled time of your arrival. In the case of engineering works, replacement timetables announced in advance are taken as a reference. 

You take two or more connecting train

In this case, the principle of separate contracts applies. In practice, this means that in a journey involving multiple rail companies, each rail company will only be liable for the part of the journey relating to them, whether you have one or more tickets.

Example: If a travel dossier involves a Thalys ticket that connects Brussels to Paris and a connecting TGV® ticket for the journey between Paris and Bordeaux, this concerns 2 individual travel agreements.

This rule also applies to Any Belgian Station tickets where a national train and a high-speed train are sold together. In this case, the internal journey on the Belgian network is totally separate from the international journey for the purpose of calculating the delay(s).

However, the members of the Railteam alliance have entered into private agreements allowing you to take the next high-speed train at no extra cost and with a minimum of formalities.

 

4. How to obtain your compensation?

 

If your journey by Thalys, Eurostar or TGV® Brussels-France has been delayed, the on-board personnel or the staff at your destination station will usually hand you a form, which you just fill in and send, along with your rail tickets, to the Customer Service Department whose address is given on the document. 

Notice: the fact of being in possession of a compensation application form does not automatically entitle you to compensation.

If you have taken any other international train, or if you didn't receive a document in spite of a delay on Thalys or Eurostar, please use our Customer Care's online contact form to apply for your compensation.