Has anybody ever sued Network Rail or a Train Operator and been successful (for being stranded)?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by RailFan89, 13 Dec 2019.

  1. RailFan89

    RailFan89 Member

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    Let me paint a picture, say you are coming back from Holiday, it's late at night, you have just left the Airport and can't wait to get home you turn up at the train station and, shock horror, the last train of the night was cancelled. You had previously booked your ticket in advance and the train station was unstaffed/unmanned, you phone network rail/train operator and they say they can't help you get home despite the T&C's listed saying they had a duty to get you to your destination safley, maybe even pay for a taxi there or the most useless option put you in a hotel for the night.

    Would you be able to sue them in small claims for breaching these T&C's which i know for a fact are aware off and has anybody ever done it successfully?
     
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  3. VinnieManc

    VinnieManc Member

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    before you go wild with small claims court, have you lodged a complaint with the TOC?
     
  4. RailFan89

    RailFan89 Member

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    No because this hasn't happened to me, this was a hypothetical discussion
     
  5. skyhigh

    skyhigh Member

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    Good luck suing Network Rail...
     
  6. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    Yes, on occasion people have successfully sued but it is rare because such cases are normsally settled one way or another before a hearing. In the 'hypothetical' case above going to court would be successful but a waste of money as the NRCoT make clear the obligations to stranded passengers and assuming the case was sound it would always be settled before a hearing.
     
  7. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Network Rail don't run any passenger trains, so I'm not sure why you have included them.

    But on another matter, yes I have sued NR and yes I won, with an out of court settlement.
     
  8. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Can we please try and stay on topic?
     
  9. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    As the customers relationship is with the TOC they would be the person to sue for stranding, there are other cases where network rail night get sued ;for health and safety breaches or damage to private property during maintenance works on the railway
     
  10. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    .....
     
    Last edited: 18 Dec 2019
  11. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Teesside Airport? :lol:
     
  12. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Rhoose?
     
  13. Drogba11CFC

    Drogba11CFC Member

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    Funny you should mention suing the RMT, as back in 2015 when my holiday was jeopardised by an NR strike, I asked someone if I could sue the RMT over it.
     
  14. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    IANAL, but rather a long time ago did history through from O level to degree. And my recollection is that - even now - there is law to protect trade unions from being sued over legally sanctioned industrial action (the Taff Vale case, and all that). And (still with my not-a-lawyer's hat on) this sounds about right. If a railway company fails to run a service because of a strike and I am inconvenienced to the point of wanting to take the matter to court to get compensated, then surely my gripe is with the railway company for my train not having shown up. The railway company in its turn may want to try to recover its losses and costs from the trade union - but (a) that's the railway company's decision, not mine, and (b) as above, I think that the trade union will (subject to having jumped through the appropriate legal hoops to call the dispute) be legally protected from the railway company suing the union.
     
  15. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    In my experience as a passenger, the obligation to stranded passengers is taken about as seriously as acceptance of valid tickets is. On parts of the railway the NRCoT is not considered to be worth the paper it's written on.

    I don't know. If anyone gets stranded at my station, perhaps by someting like the last train of the day departing any earlier than T-30 or the rail replacement bus fails to materialise (definitely more a probability than a possibility) then I'm assisting them with the means the company provides with no hesitation whatsoever. Hey, I'll even call taxis for people if an airport train is cancelled at short notice and it'd be quicker for them than waiting for the next one.

    But elsewhere on the network I've found some try and get rid of the problem of a stranded passenger by telling the customer to find their own taxi then make a claim to customer services or worse still, lying about non-existent connections from other stations.

    I was down in the South East a few months back and regularly get the penultimate train back into London. On this occasion the last 2 trains of the day were cancelled, tree on the line or something. When I asked for help at the station I was told I'd have to source my own taxi. I then used the help point to get help from control, who usefully redirected me to the station staff.

    Another time in the recent past, I was travelling from Brum to Ashford. I was on the 2115 from Snow Hill which should have gotten to Marylebone at around 2312. However Chiltern made the decision to hold the train at Banbury, join it up with a later service from Stratford and run it as a stopping service without a word of communication to the passengers. The yellow help point on the platform at Banbury didn't work and I had to find out from the relief driver what was going on. We arrived at Marylebone at 0006, no chance of getting to St Pancras for the last train at 0012. I tracked down a member of staff, a manager and explained I had been delayed. He refused to believe what had happened and said I must be mistaken. Eventually he checked on his phone and found a service from Victoria to Ashford. I asked him what time it was due to leave and he said "you've got half an hour, you'd better go" and ran off before I had a chance to say anything else. This was a lie - I later discovered that at that moment it was actually leaving in 18 minutes - and at that time of day, headways on the tube are 8-10 minutes. Far be it for a station manager to realise that not everyone can sprint like an olympian, dart through tunnels, run up escalators and make an accurate trajectory out of Victoria tube station to an unknown platform for an unknown service - whilst wielding luggage.

    I've always held Chiltern in exceptionally high regard and was actually very surprised at how things panned out. If an driver unavailable at short notice means two services have to be merged into one, causing an hour's delay to one of the trains then come on, communicate that to the passengers and help anyone that is stranded by that decision.

    I can only imagine that this kind of thing happens and goes unreported but it's just another part of the CoT that a passenger needs good fortune to have upheld and is something that really needs working on.
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  16. sikejsudjek

    sikejsudjek Member

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    I used to work in trading standards a few years ago. It was well known that a lot of the terms and conditions were not legally valid. However British Rail and its successors were very careful to prevent them being challenged in court by settling claims to prevent a legal case striking them down. Never assume that the terms and conditions are enforceable ! My personal experience is that they will back down well before the chance of going to court and loosing even if their initial reaction is no ....
     
  17. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    of course they will. Any business would. It is cheaper to settle without any admission of guilt.

    Litigation is about step 978 of a 1000 step process. The answer in the real world is that you get a cab yourself and claim back the money. You send the TOC a nice, professional, & well written letter outlining the situation and they send you a cheque back post haste. There is no need at stage one to copy out terms of conditions in a Nigely voice and drone on. You simply set out what happened along with your expectation of a refund.

    Eventually, when you have exhausted all other options, you could ( if you have the means and the time) sue the TOC. You aren't going to though unless you get one of those silly people who will spend £30k to prove a £2.50 point. It simply isnt worth wasting your time. The TOC will settle well before court in any event. It certainly isnt worth their time and effort!
     
  18. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Actually, the cost of going to the County Court is very reasonable - when a claim is submitted online the fee starts at £35 - and often the company being claimed against will accept losing a judgement as being cheaper than actually defending a claim.
     
  19. Mojo

    Mojo Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't know what a train station is, but the OP says "late at night" and aside from the two already mentioned, Dyce and Prestwick Airport railway stations are also completely unstaffed. Southend Airport station is also unstaffed after 23.00 hrs.
     
  20. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    indeed - but the cost of legal representation or advice is somewhat higher! A litigant in person is often.....................interesting.
     
  21. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    It doesn't always work like that in the real world.

    Train Operating Companies are very, very good at reading the CoT and quoting it verbatim when it suits them. It has been known for them to reel off the line about not being responsible for consequential losses as a result of delays. Especially if there's no proof that anyone with the authority to do so promised the company would cover any such costs.

    Some TOCs are terrified of admitting that a colleague might not have followed the rules, by refusing to assist a passenger they were made aware was stranded for example and will simply fob you off by telling you what they are not required to do and hope the matter disappears - it doesn't matter how nice you are. This is why I have no time for the procedure violating approach of "cover additional travel out of your own pocket then claim it back". I'd never, ever subject a customer to that if the CoT made it clear it's the railway's responsibility to arrange travel.

    This isn't the hospitality industry where the ethos is to please the customer. Part of adulting is learning how to deal with companies whose failures cost you money then don't want to compensate you - and sometimes dealing with that takes a different approach than the one you've suggested.

    The Conditions of Travel would work quite well if only the TOCs were properly committed to upholding their obligations. Then there'd be no need for anyone to talk of suing them.
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  22. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I have never had a problem. I know how to write a professional letter. Sometimes it takes a couple of increasingly blunt letters but I have never not got what I want or at least an acceptable compromise. That isnt just railway companies it is companies in general. I guess it helps I have been on both sides of this kind of situation and have some court experience ;)

    PS "Adulting"?
     
  23. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I appreciate your determination to be right, but this is what used to be called the small claims court that I'm talking about and people do represent themselves through the process on a very regular basis.
     

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