According to the Swedish Transport Administration, almost a third of all long-distance trains were late in 2022. Although traveling by train is smooth and easy, it’s not optimal whenever a train is delayed. That’s why it’s good to make sure to know of your rights when booking a trip by long-distance train. So if you’re hit with some bad luck, you’ll be prepared.
When traveling with most long-distance trains, you’re protected by the train regulation. This applies to journeys by train within Sweden where the trip is longer than 15 Scandinavian miles and to trips by train that goes abroad. If your train is delayed or canceled by more than an hour, you have the right to:
- get a full refund of the ticket price or get a refund for the parts of your trip that you can’t use. If the delay makes your journey pointless and you’ve already managed to start your trip, you’re also entitled to a return ticket to the place of your departure.
- get your trip rebooked as soon as possible or to a later date if you prefer.
- to continue the trip. This only applies if the train company doesn’t cancel the train due to the delay.
When you want to rebook your trip
The train company also have to make sure to keep the delay at a minimum. And if your trip needs to be rebooked, they have to present you with a new ticket offer within 1 hour and 40 minutes of the scheduled departure time. If they don’t, you have the right to rebook the trip on your own. In that case, the train company also has to reimburse you for the costs incurred, provided that they are necessary and reasonable. If, on the other hand, you want to rebook your own journey before the 1 hour and 40 minutes have passed, it would be wise to contact the train company before booking a trip. Then you can check with them if they will reimburse you for the costs incurred.
In the event of a rebooking, you have the right to receive a trip that is equivalent to the original trip. What is equivalent can have different meanings depending on the circumstances. However, what applies is that you have the right to a similar trip without being charged anything extra. For instance, if the new trip is in a higher class, the train company has to cover the extra costs. On the other hand, the train company can also book a new trip by bus instead of by train.
Your right to compensation in the event of a delayed train
When you choose to either continue your trip despite the delay or choose to be rebooked, you’re also entitled to a certain amount of compensation. If the train is between 1-2 hours late, you have the right to get 25% of the ticket price back. If the train is more than 2 hours late, you’re instead entitled to 50% of the ticket price back.
Your right to compensation doesn’t apply in certain extreme situations, such as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and when the delay is due to sabotage. It also doesn’t apply if there is an emergency on board the train or if people have walked on the track. You’re also not entitled to compensation if the train is delayed because of you.
To receive compensation, you have to submit a claim to the train company. The easiest way to do this is to email them and send your ticket information as well as a receipt showing that you have the right documents for the trip. If the compensation you demand is less than 4 euros, the train company doesn’t have to pay you anything, but they can of course do so out of goodwill. Within one month of the train company receiving your request, you should receive your compensation or refund, either as value checks or as cash. The choice is yours to make.