Complaints and compensation


Our role  is to monitor train and station operators’ compliance with their complaints handling procedures and to set out requirements on what these procedures should contain.

Where things go wrong passengers expect their complaints to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Train and station licence holders are required by their operating licence to establish and comply with a Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP).  From 1 April 2023, these CHPs must comply with ORR’s Complaints Code of Practice.

CHPs set out how companies should go about meeting the expectations of their customers when they make a complaint.

If they are unable to do so, passengers can seek redress through the Rail Ombudsman. Where appropriate, they can also make use of other arrangements such as delay compensation.

Passenger satisfaction with complaints handling research

We have been working with train operating companies since 2016 to conduct an ongoing, large-scale complaint handling satisfaction survey with rail passengers. The survey is managed and administered on our behalf by the professional research agency M.E.L Research

This research is vital in enabling us to track train operating companies’ compliance with complaint handling regulatory requirements over time. The survey data also helps train operating companies to continually benchmark their performance against other companies which fosters a positive culture of continuous improvement in complaint handling across the industry. 

How to take part 

The research is only open to rail passengers who have made a complaint to a train operating company. When the train operating company closes a complaint they share the complainant’s details with M.E.L Research who will send that complainant a weblink to the survey inviting them to provide feedback on their experience of the complaints process. M.E.L Research then ensures the complainant’s details are anonymised and expunged from their database with the survey results then shared with ORR and train operating companies.    

The survey is solely concerned with the investigating the passenger’s complaint handling experience and should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. 

Rail compensation

When passengers are delayed beyond a certain length of time they become entitled to claim compensation, regardless of whether the company they are travelling with is responsible for the delay they have experienced.

Rail ADR Scheme Council

The Rail Ombudsman provides the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service for the rail industry. 

Complaints handling procedures

Information on complaints handling procedures for train and station operators.

Core complaints data

We are responsible for the collection, monitoring and publication of rail customer complaints.