West Midlands train service cancelled - refund questions

ilkestonian

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Joined
6 Dec 2009
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377
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The Potteries
I wonder if I might please call on the collective wisdom here.

Two or three weeks ago, two friends booked a West Midlands Trains journey for today, Stafford to Euston, which I think involved a change at Rugby.

They had an email either last night or early today advising that the train was cancelled because of driver shortages.

When they arrived at the station to find out their options they had to rebook dearer tickets on an Avanti West Coast service.

Now I may only have half the story, but they tell me that West Midlands are charging them a £10 cancellation fee as they attempt to get the money back for the journey that West Midlands cancelled.

First question. Should they be charging this cancellation fee when the train didn't run?

Second question. They need to be in London as they have commitments with relatives so had no option but to cough up for the dearer tickets. Can any of this difference be reclaimed from West Midlands?

The only bright spot is that their journey will now be non stop and far quicker, and they tell me they have been upgraded to first class (not sure if free or for an additional charge) but it's still been a stressful experience, so I'd be grateful for any advice on where they stand.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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Tazi Hupefi

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1 Apr 2018
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582
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Nottinghamshire
My understanding is that a full, fee free refund of the original ticket(s) is permitted if the tickets are entirely unused because of a cancellation.

Not entitled to anything back for the new ticket.
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
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2,671
Location
UK
I wonder if I might please call on the collective wisdom here.

Two or three weeks ago, two friends booked a West Midlands Trains journey for today, Stafford to Euston, which I think involved a change at Rugby.

They had an email either last night or early today advising that the train was cancelled because of driver shortages.

When they arrived at the station to find out their options they had to rebook dearer tickets on an Avanti West Coast service.

Now I may only have half the story, but they tell me that West Midlands are charging them a £10 cancellation fee as they attempt to get the money back for the journey that West Midlands cancelled.

First question. Should they be charging this cancellation fee when the train didn't run?

Second question. They need to be in London as they have commitments with relatives so had no option but to cough up for the dearer tickets. Can any of this difference be reclaimed from West Midlands?

The only bright spot is that their journey will now be non stop and far quicker, and they tell me they have been upgraded to first class (not sure if free or for an additional charge) but it's still been a stressful experience, so I'd be grateful for any advice on where they stand.

Thanks in advance for any help.
If the train is cancelled, then a refund is fee-free. Your friends should contact WMT again to clarify the train was cancelled and thus no fee is due.

If there were alternative WMT services that could have conveyed your friends to London - e.g. via Birmingham - then your friends would have been entitled to travel this way, and therefore your friends won't be entitled to a refund of the additional ticket(s) they bought to travel on Avanti.

It looks as though WMT have not arranged any ticket acceptance with Avanti today, in spite of the very limited service they are operating today.

This is a very poor showing in the circumstances but unfortunately, there is no automatic entitlement to use another TOC when travelling on a TOC-restricted ticket (whether an Advance or flexible fare). This right would only arise if you'd otherwise be stranded overnight.
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
6,338
It looks as though WMT have not arranged any ticket acceptance with Avanti today, in spite of the very limited service they are operating today.
This isn’t a one way arrangement and it may well be the case that Avanti declined to assist on a busy day.
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
2,671
Location
UK
This isn’t a one way arrangement and it may well be the case that Avanti declined to assist on a busy day.
Then WMT should be agreeing to reimburse passengers who buy new tickets.

Leaving passengers waiting for hours amidst a slew of cancellations, whilst refusing to allow them to travel on the trains that are running, is the kind of stuff that gives the railway a bad reputation.
 

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