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Making a complaint about rail services

If you're unhappy about the service you have received when travelling by train, you can make a complaint. Find out who to contact, what your complaint should say and what to do if you are not happy with the response.

Who to complain to

Contact the train company concerned for complaints about tickets and train travel, including:

  • being sold the wrong ticket for your journey
  • delayed or cancelled trains
  • the availability of information at stations or on trains
  • overcrowding on a train service
  • a penalty fare you have received and want to appeal
  • the conduct of staff on the train or at a station
  • accessing the train or station and any help you did or didn’t receive
  • late notification of changes to a rail service because of engineering works

There's a list of train companies in Great Britain and links to their contact details on the National Rail website. You can also find out which company runs each station.

If you bought your ticket from a retailer, like a ticketing website, contact them directly if you aren't happy with their service.

Complaints about the British Transport Police

Contact the British Transport Police directly for complaints about their conduct or a general policing issue.

Complaints about railway property, train noise or track maintenance work

Contact Network Rail on 08457 11 41 41 if you're worried about:

  • late-night engineering work on railway tracks near your home
  • the safety and quality of tracks, bridges and crossings
  • noise from trains or engineering work
  • the behaviour of Network Rail employees
  • any problems caused by graffiti, vandalism, plants, trees or animals near railway tracks

Complaints about health and safety issues

Train companies and station operators are responsible for operating safely. They must have procedures in place, for example, to prevent passenger accidents at stations, like slips or falls. If you're concerned that a train company or station operator isn't operating safely, contact them first. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) can also investigate complaints from members of the public about unsafe practices in the rail industry.

How to make a complaint

It's best to make a complaint at the time of the problem by contacting a member of staff at the station or on the train. If you can't complain at the time, you should make a complaint in writing within 28 days of the problem.

What to say in your complaint

Your letter should give the reason for your complaint and a description of what happened. Include as much information as possible, like:

  • the date and time of your journey and which stations you used
  • how many people travelled with you
  • anything you have already done to resolve the problem
  • an explanation of the action you would like the company to take

If your complaint is about information given by a customer service helpline or the National Rail Enquiry Service, include:

  • the date and time of your telephone call
  • the full number of the phone you called them from

Along with the letter, you should send any:

  • original tickets
  • receipts, or a proof of purchase or reference number

Take a copy of everything you send and ask the Post Office for proof that the letter has been received. If you don't get a reply within ten working days, call the organisation involved to check they received your letter.

If you're not happy with the response to your complaint

You should be able to resolve your complaint with the train company or the organisation involved.

If you aren't happy with the response you receive about your complaint, you can appeal to Passenger Focus. If your complaint is about a rail journey in London, contact London Travelwatch.

If you aren't happy with a response from Network Rail, contact the Office of Rail Regulation.

Complaints about Passenger Focus, London Travelwatch or ORR

If you're not satisfied with the way your appeal is handled by Passenger Focus, London Travelwatch or ORR, make a complaint directly to them.

If you're still unhappy with your Passenger Focus or ORR complaint, contact the Parliamentary Ombudsman. For problems with London Travelwatch, contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

Complaints about fares or station car-park charges

If you think the fare for a rail service is too expensive, contact the train company first. For more information about complaints about rail fares, follow the link below.

  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012