We use cookies to track usage and preferences. You can view our cookies policy here.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're new to Railsmartr or looking for answers to your questions, this guide will help you learn more about our services and their features.

Refunds and amendments

Wondering how to refund a train ticket? Simply send us an email with the information below and our refunds team will do the rest. We'll always refund you within two working days. No matter whether you've changed your plans or just fancy a lie-in, then we're happy to help. We won't charge you any admin fees, either.

What you need to do

The information we need from you when it comes to how to refund your train ticket depends on the type of ticket you've booked with us. Anytime, Off-peak and Super Off-peak tickets are all refundable. Advance tickets aren't normally refundable, except in cases where service disruption prevented you from using them. Not sure about the type of ticket that you purchased? It's detailed in the confirmation email you'll have received when you booked with us.

Uncollected tickets or eTickets

Not collected your tickets yet? Purchased an eTicket? Just email our refunds team with your booking reference. There's no need to attach your eTickets – we can access all the details.

Collected or posted tickets

You'll need to get in touch with our refunds team with your booking reference number and images of any unused tickets you'd like refunded. You'll also need to cut your tickets diagonally through the centre before taking a photo so they can't be used. Please keep your tickets in case we need them in order to process the refund. In exceptional circumstances, you may need to post the physical tickets to us.

How to refund your train ticket - conditions:

  • Available for unused Anytime, Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak train tickets. Advance tickets cannot normally be refunded except in some cases of service disruption
  • Refund requests must be received by us within 28 days of the final date your ticket is valid
  • Partial refunds for outbound or return trips will be given based on the difference between a single and a return for the same ticket type. Where no equivalent is available, the nearest will be used
  • We may need to call you to process your refund if your payment card has expired
  • Card payments may take 3-5 working days to reach your account once the refund has been processed.

What next?

While you can't normally receive a refund for an Advance ticket, you can find out more about about amending your Advance ticket to a different date or time. Caught up in disruption? We're here to help with refunding your ticket if your train was cancelled, seeking compensation if your train was delayed or with claiming partial refunds for your return journey. Looking for help with refunding other ticket types? Check out our refunds help page.

Yes! You can amend your Advance train ticket if you're not able to use it. 

So long as it was bought through us, we can amend your Advance train ticket for you. This means you'll be able to exchange it for another Advance ticket with exactly the same journey details for a different date or time. Simply book your new journey, send us the details and we'll refund your original booking within two working days. There are some conditions, but don't worry, we've got all the information you need to know here.

What you need to do

  • Book your new Advance ticket for the date and time you'd like to travel, using the conditions below
  • Email us your original and new booking reference numbers.
  • If you've collected your ticket from a station machine or it was posted to you, we'll need an image of your ticket too.
  • For tickets already collected, you'll need to cut your ticket diagonally across the centre before you take the photo so it can't be used again.
  • There's no need to do this if you have an eTicket or haven't collected your tickets from the station yet.

Conditions of Advance ticket amendment

  • We can only amend your Advance train ticket if the original booking was made through Railsmartr.co.uk. If you've booked the ticket somewhere else, you'll need to approach them in order to process the amendment
  • Your new journey should match your original journey exactly apart from the new date or time. It also needs to be the same type of ticket. For example, if you purchased an Advance single from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, it needs to be another Advance single between Birmingham New Street and London Euston
  • Your ticket must also be for the same route and train operator (eg. 'Avanti West Coast only') 
  • Your new booking should be placed, and you should contact us, before the original train was due to depart
  • We'll refund the cost of the cheaper ticket. So if your new Advance ticket costs less than your old one, we'll refund the cost of your new one
  • You can book any class of accommodation (First Class or Standard Class) regardless of your original booking
  • Railcards can be applied to either booking - you'll be refunded the amount you paid or the cost of the cheaper ticket.

Find out more about how to refund your Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets, what to do if your train was cancelled, seeking compensation if your train was delayed, claiming partial refunds for your return journey or for refunding other ticket types on our refunds help page.

Advance tickets are generally non refundable, so you can't get a refund for your Advance ticket. But there are a few exceptions which will entitle you to a refund.

  • Your train has been cancelled and you decide not to travel
  • The train operator has advised you not to travel because of service disruptions
  • You have abandoned your journey because of delays.
  • If none of these apply to you and you can't use your Advance ticket, you have the option to amend your ticket. This means you can exchange your Advance ticket to a different date or time. And whilst most online train ticket retailers make you pay up to £10 for this service, we won't charge you a penny.

    More details on how to amend Advance tickets are available here.

    All of your group discounted tickets can be refunded, provided that they are Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets.

    Unfortunately, we cannot refund Advance tickets with a group discount, but you can amend them. See how to amend Advance tickets.

    If you want to refund some group tickets, but not others, then please contact us for help and advice. There are many group discounts, and therefore many variations of what can and cannot be refunded, and how it can be done.

    If you experience disruption during your journey, then you're usually entitled to train delay compensation. With some operators, you're entitled to compensation once this delay exceeds 15 minutes, but it could be as high as 60. 

    When you're claiming compensation, it'll always need to be done through the operator that delayed you, which is usually the one that you were booked to travel with. 

    There are some exceptions to when you can claim train delay compensation. The first one is if planned disruption caused a delay. For example, if your train was planned to be diverted or replaced by a bus and you were warned in advance, then you can't claim. We know that replacement buses make things frustrating, of course! You can click here to find out more about what to do when there's a bus replacement.

    The second exception is if an emergency timetable is in place or the cancellation was added to the timetable no later than 10pm the day before. This usually means that a train has been 'removed' from the timetable rather than cancelled. 

    While officially this means that you can't claim, we would encourage you to still contact the operator in these cases if you're delayed. If we're made aware of the cancellation in advance, then we'll email you and let you know. You'll be entitled to claim a refund if you prefer not to travel on an earlier or later train. 

    Click here to find out more about delay repay on the National Rail website. You'll find links to each operator and how to claim compensation from each of them. 

    If a rail operator gives out a 'do not travel' warning, then you have a couple of options. Let's go through them, and what you should do during disruption.

    What is a 'do not travel' warning and where do I find it?

    It's exactly what it sounds like! Train companies will give out a 'do not travel' warning when disruption is so severe that it's likely that your journey will be difficult or impossible to complete. 

    You're still able to attempt to travel if you want to, but you might find that your journey is difficult to start in the first place. You might find that these warnings are given out during severe weather or industrial action, for example. 

    You'll find warnings like these on the dedicated National Rail disruption page. It lists all of the current disruptions like this: 

    example of a do not travel warning on national rail site

    Usually, the warnings in red are most likely to be 'do not travel' warnings. Rail companies will also post them on their social media channels. 

    What if I'm part way through my journey?

    If a 'do not travel' warning is issued while you're part of the way through your journey, then train companies cannot simply abandon you. They have to do everything reasonably possible to either get you to your destination, or return you to your origin. 

    You can find out more about your rights in our guide to disruption

    Can I get a refund if there's a 'do not travel' warning?

    In these situations, you'll either be able to get a refund or travel on a different day. If you booked with us, then we'll issue you a refund, without any additional fees. It doesn't matter which kind of ticket you've purchased. This includes if you've made part of your journey, but you've had to abandon it and return back to your origin station. 

    Simply drop our Refunds team an email with your booking reference number and share a brief description of what happened. We'll be happy to assist and get your money back to you. 

    Yes, we can refund your ticket if you haven't used it. It doesn’t matter why, we’ll refund it for you if it's an Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket. Advance tickets are not refundable but they can be amended to a different date or time if you let us know before you were due to travel. You can request your refund by emailing our refunds team.

    Changed your plans? Just fancy a lie in? No problem, just refund your tickets with us fee free!

    It happens to the best of us. It's frustrating when you've missed your train, but what you're able to do next depends on the type of ticket that you have, and why you've missed the train. 

    Missed train due to rail delays

    If you've missed the train because of another rail delay, then you're covered. It doesn't matter if you're using separate tickets, either. So long as you've left enough time to change trains, then it's no problem that you've missed the train. 

    Do you have a flexible train ticket, such as an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket? No problem. Just hop on the next train, so long as your ticket doesn't have any restrictions on which company you can use. In this case, you might need to stick to the operator on the ticket.

    If you have an Advance ticket, you can get the next train operated by the same company that's specified on your ticket. If there's widespread disruption, or a very long wait until the next train (over 60 minutes), then you should be accommodated on a different company at no extra cost. You can find out more about your rights in the National Rail Conditions of Travel

    You will be offered First Class compensation if you possess a First Class ticket and there is no First Class on the next service. Claims can be made through the train operating company you are travelling with.

    Missed train due to external delays

    Have you missed your train because of an external reason, such as an overrunning meeting or traffic congestion? If you have a flexible ticket, that's no problem. Just make sure that your ticket is still valid for the time of train that you want (eg. if you have an Off-Peak ticket and it's near peak time). 

    If you have an Advance ticket, speak to staff if you can. Officially, you would need to buy a new ticket if you're missed your train. However, if there's been an accident on the roads nearby, or Tube and Metro delays, then staff can show discretion. They might even be briefed to accept tickets if it's affecting a lot of customers. 

    Don't board a train in these circumstances without speaking to staff first. It's highly likely that you'll be asked to buy a new ticket, or face a Penalty Fare. 


    The Book with Confidence scheme ended on December 1, 2022. That doesn't mean that anything has changed when you book with Railsmartr, though! You've always been able to get a fee-free exchange for your Advance tickets and we're still going to offer it. 

    To take up this offer, simply follow these steps:
      1. Book your new journey on Railsmartr.co.uk using the conditions below.
      2. Email our refunds team with your new and original booking reference numbers. Remember to send this to us no later than 6pm the day before your original train is due to depart.
      3. We'll refund your original booking and send an email to let you know when this is done.
    Conditions of refund
    It's important that you read this before you book your new tickets. You must:
      • Book your new ticket(s) with the same train operator and origin & destination stations as your original ticket.
      • Get in touch with us via email with your new booking details no later than 6pm the day before you are due to travel. If you contact us after this time, standard terms relating to Advance ticket exchanges will apply.
    You may exchange your Advance ticket for any ticket type, including Advance, Off-Peak or Anytime. If you choose a journey costing more than your original one, you will need to pay the difference in price. If the new fare is cheaper, we won't refund the difference. 

    We're committed to our 'no extra charges' policy, so we'll never ask you to pay refund or amendment fees.

    Here at Railsmartr, we always want you to be able to book with confidence. So even though the Book with Confidence scheme has ended, you can still change your plans and remain flexible.  

    Find out more about our standard terms for Advance ticket amendments and refunds for all other types of ticket here.
    If you bought a First Class ticket but had to travel in standard class, this is because First Class isn’t always available on every leg of the journey. Annoying, we know, but sadly there's nothing we can do about it!

    • This means you'll have to sit in Standard Class for part of your journey
    • The good news is your ticket price will always reflect this
    • We always make sure this information shows on your screen when you book your tickets, so you can decide before you buy.
    For full details, please check the National Rail Conditions of Travel.
    If First Class was full and you had to sit in Standard Class, you can claim compensation.

    What you need to do
    • Contact the train operating company you travelled with to claim compensation – you're always entitled to this
    • You’ll usually be refunded the difference in price between a First Class and Standard Class ticket for your journey
    • If you have any problems making your claim, you can get in touch with us – we’ll step in to help!
    For full details, please check the National Rail Conditions of Travel.
    Sorry to hear you weren’t happy with the First Class service provided on your train. The type of First Class service offered can vary quite a lot.

    Thinking of claiming compensation for your experience? Or maybe you want to know if you'll be getting value for money before booking your ticket? Here are some tips to help you along the way.

    What you need to know
    • The service offered depends on the train operating company, type of train, time of day and day of the week
    • Check your train operator's website for a detailed description of what to expect
    • You could be entitled to compensation if the service you got was different from the service advertised on the website for your specific journey.
    For full details on the First Class service provided on your train and what to expect, please check the National Rail Conditions of Travel.
    It can be confusing, but you shouldn’t approach the train operating company or train station for a refund. They can’t deal with the refund on our behalf.

    How to get your train tickets refunded
  • Email your refund request to us at refunds@railsmartr.co.uk
  • For Advance tickets, we can’t accept refund requests that don’t reach us prior to travel
  • For Flexible tickets (Anytime, Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak), you need to email us within 28 days of travel – this applies even if you already approached the wrong people for a refund within the correct time frame. Sorry!

  • Find out more about how to get a ticket refund or amendment from us on our help pages
    We try to respond to all refund requests by the end of the next working day. For valid refund requests, we expect to have it all sorted and process your refund within two working days. If you’ve haven’t heard from us after this time, please contact us at refunds@railsmartr.co.uk – we’re happy to help.
    If you bought an Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak return ticket but only used the outward portion, we can refund the return portion of your train ticket.

    What you need to know
    • Your refund will be the price difference between a single and a return for the same ticket type.
    • For Anytime train tickets this is usually (but not always) half the value of the return ticket.
    • For Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak train tickets this may be as little as £1, or even 10p!
    • We’ll give you whatever you’re entitled to. Sometimes there are no equivalent return and single ticket types (there might be an Off-Peak Day Return, but no Off-Peak Day Single); in which case we’ll base the refund on the nearest equivalent.
    Find out more about refunding or amending your train ticket on our help page.

    Unfortunately, you can’t get Delay Repay Compensation from Railsmartr. You'll need to get in touch with the train operator you travelled with.

    To qualify
    • Your train must be delayed by at least 15 minutes reaching the destination on your ticket. Sometimes it may be at least 30 minutes – this varies by train operator
    • Make sure you haven't refunded your tickets – you'll need these for your Delay Repay claim
    • Claim with 28 days of your ticket being valid. This can also vary so it's best to check your train operator's website for details.
    Who to contact
    • Get in touch with the train operating company that caused the delay
    • If your journey involved more than one late train operator, you should contact the one that caused your first delay
    • Need more help getting the right amount of compensation from the train operators? Just email us at hello@railsmartr.co.uk. We'll be happy to help!
    Find out more about Delay Repay compensation, refunding or amending your ticket on our handy help pages.

    Yes. You can get a refund if your train was delayed and as a result you abandoned your journey and didn't reach your destination. There's no strict definition of how late a train must be for you to be eligible.

    Simply drop our Refunds team an email with your booking reference number and we'll do the rest.

    What to remember if your train was delayed
  • If you do reach your destination by rail, no matter how late, unfortunately we can't offer you a refund. You'll need to apply for Delay Repay compensation from the train operator that caused the delay.
  • Get in touch with our Refunds team within 28 days of your travel date for your refund claim to be valid.
  • We can only give you a refund if you abandoned your train journey altogether.

    Find out more on our refund and amendments help page.

  • Yes. We can refund accompanied child tickets, as long as they are Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak train tickets, and meet all the normal travel criteria.

    To get your refund just send us an email with your booking reference number and we'll do the rest.

    Please note: train operators require one adult to accompany every four children using this type of ticket. So if you're asking for adult tickets to be refunded at the same time, please check you have enough adults to meet the minimum group size. More information is available from National Rail.

    Find out more about refunds and ticket amendments on our help page.

    Yes! You can get a refund for all your GroupSave discounted train tickets. Just like any other Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets.

    To refund some of your GroupSave tickets, but keep others, you'll need to make sure the remaining group still meets the GroupSave minimum size (three adults). Find out more about about refunds and amendments on our help page.

    Unlike any of our competitors, we don’t charge any fees for refunding your ticket. Just let us know which tickets you’d like to refund, and we’ll do the rest.

    Find out more on how to get a refund for your train ticket in our handy FAQs.