What is the CIV protection on train tickets?

CIV train ticket protection is automatically applied to some journeys. CIV is a set of rules shared by European rail operators to govern international journeys by train. It's a public document that is part of EU law. You can read the document in full: International Convention for the transportation of passengers (or in French: Convention Internationale pour le transport des voyageurs; hence "CIV").

You are protected by CIV if your train journey involves international border crossings or a connecting Eurostar train to or from the UK. This article contains all the information you need to know about CIV and the protection it offers.

IN THIS ARTICLE

What is CIV? CIV rules explained

The CIV document contains lots of information for rail travellers, primarily related to the following:

Your rights and obligations when you travel, called "contract of carriage".
Assistance provided by the rail operator, in case of cancellation, delays and missed connections. It means you'll usually be permitted to travel on the next available train if an earlier train is delayed.
Compensation that may be due in case of delays.
CIV enables you to travel on a later train if one leg of your trip is delayed and you have tickets for onward travel on a train which runs to schedule. The CIV rules do not entitle you to a refund if one part of your trip is cancelled/delayed. Instead, you should obtain travel insurance to protect your trip against this risk.

Does my ticket include CIV protection?

CIV protection is included with tickets for almost every international train journey in Europe. The acronym "CIV" is printed on eligible tickets to show that they include CIV protection, alongside the rail operator's identifying code.

If your ticket includes CIV protection and you meet your obligations as a passenger e.g. having a valid ticket, arriving for the train on time, presenting ticket on request etc, your journey will be covered by the CIV rules. 

Print-at-home, mobile and "paperless" tickets may be eligible for CIV without this being shown explicitly on the ticket.

CIV protection on train tickets is not a substitute for travel insurance and does not entitle you to a full refund in case of disruption or additional costs. As soon as you book train tickets, you should purchase appropriate travel insurance, as this offers the most reliable protection against financial losses due to travel disruption.

CIV protection for journeys in continental Europe

International journeys within Europe are covered by CIV rules. If you are travelling on a cross-border train that is delayed, causing you to miss your onward connection in another country, you can travel on the next available train free of charge. The CIV rules are clear - the rail operator on your connecting service is obliged to accommodate you if there is space.

For journeys with more than two legs, CIV protection is limited. This means that a delay to an early part of your trip does not entitle you to travel on multiple onward connections to your destination. Take the following scenario:

If you are travelling from London to Madrid (via Paris and Barcelona), and your London to Paris train is delayed, you'll be permitted to board the next available Paris to Barcelona service at no extra cost. However, you won't be guaranteed a place on a later train from Barcelona to Madrid, or be eligible for a refund (if it isn't permitted by your tickets). This means you might need to buy new tickets for that segment of your trip. 

CIV doesn't protect all legs of a complex journey, so you should always buy travel insurance to protect yourself in case of unforeseen disruption. 

CIV protection for UK train journeys

Sadly we are no longer able to offer tickets to London International and provide CIV protection for UK train journeys.

However, CIV tickets to London International can still be purchased from your local ticket office, provided that you can prove onward travel with a pre-purchased Eurostar or Deutsche Bahn ticket, which are both available through Rail Europe.

Ticket office staff aren't always aware of London International fares, but it can often help to ask them to search for destination code "LNE" in these situations.

Am I eligible for compensation under CIV?

The rail operators assess every CIV refund request on a case by case basis. We can't influence the outcome of a claim but the following guidelines will help you to understand some of the key factors that will affect your eligibility.

  • Compensation is considered for delays of 60 minutes or more, or cancellations that are the fault of the rail operator.
  • If you are delayed by something outside the rail operator's control e.g. extreme weather, or another type of force majeure, you may not be eligible for compensation. 
  • Your itinerary was reasonable and you took precautions to avoid missing an onward train i.e. didn't plan to change trains with a very short transfer/interchange. 
  • You obtained proof of delays where possible and retained copies of all your tickets. It may not be possible to make a claim if you discard your tickets. 

If you think you are eligible for compensation, you should read the instructions for submitting a refund request in our Claims & Compensation documents.

If your journey contains lots of connecting trains and you are delayed early on in your trip, you might not be permitted to travel with your existing tickets on later trains for the entire journey. In these cases you may need to pay for new tickets, or even to seek accommodation if you miss the last train to your destination. In these cases, you should be able to claim compensation for the delayed train from the rail operator, but any additional costs for new tickets etc should be claimed via your travel insurer.

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