Train of Thought #15: Automatic Refunds

As anyone familiar with Train of Thought (a rare breed, indeed, Ed.) will know, I travel by train.  A lot.  I rely on the train.  It gets me to work.  It gets me to see family and friends.  I gets me to the places I visit on holiday.  So, I don’t like to be someone who criticises a train service, which at most times has only been beneficial to me, but… sometimes the train service is utterly crap and, as such, needs to be held to account.

On my regular work commute, I have observed that London Northwestern has been more regularly crap ever since it changed from being London Midland.  So much so that in November last year I wrote to the Managing Director of London Northwestern, Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, to account for the decline in service.  I ended my letter with the sentence: “I leave it to your conscience to decide what compensation you consider I am owed for a year of disruption”.

Over three months have elapsed, and I am still awaiting for an acknowledgment to that letter, let alone any compensation.  I guess that this is actually the answer itself to my query: none.  Compensation: none.  Conscience: none.

While it is possible to claim compensation for late-running trains through the Delay Repay initiative, my gripe is that I don’t think that the onus for making a claim should be placed on the passenger.  As an Oyster ticket holder, the times of my travels are automatically recorded and, as such, it should be possible for a refund to be made automatically by the train operator whenever the trains I travel on are delayed.

One person who apparently agrees with me is the founder of Train Reeclaim, Zevi Steernlicht, who has set up an online service to help harassed commuters, like myself.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been interested to note that Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde is taking a “career break” from London Northwestern, replaced by Julian Edwards.  Rest assured, I will be writing to him with the exact same enquiry.

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree is nothing if not dogged.

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