Complaints and compensation


Our role is to set complaint handling procedures and monitor train and station operators against these.

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 have a Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) which has been approved by ORR by reference to its published guidance.

These 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 Critical 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 Critical Research who will send that complainant a weblink to the survey inviting them to provide feedback on their experience of the complaints process. Critical 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.