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Train Travel in Europe – List of European Railways and Their Cancellation Policies

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor April 6th, 2020 Posted in Europe Travel Blog, Travel Blog No comments

Are you planning to travel around Europe? But, unfortunately, you can’t due to an event that’s out of your control. Well, we understand your frustration, canceling your much-awaited trip is one of the worst feelings ever. But if it’s for your safety or for the sake of a more important reason, maybe it’s much better to just cancel it. And if in case you’re traveling by train, here are some of the most popular trains in Europe and their cancellation policies that could help you if ever you want to cancel your journey.  

Trains In Europe and Their Cancellation Policies
Photo by Roderick Eime CC BY-ND 2.0

1. Alfa Pendular (Portugal)

For tickets purchased online using cp.pt.

Refund of Unused Tickets:

  • If a passenger does not use the ticket for the train/date they bought it for, they can get a refund from any CP ticket office or online, in Your Tickets area, if the tickets were bought through the Online ticket office and CP App, up to 30 minutes before the train starts its journey, by paying a €4.00 refund fee.
  • If there is any reason of force majeure, you can even ask for a refund in the next two hours from the station that sold the ticket or at the station where you are to get on the train and you are refunded 50% of the ticket price and there is a minimum refund fee.
  • The refund of tickets paid with a bank card is made exclusively on the card used in the purchase. This operation is not possible without presenting the card.
  • The refund of online tickets – bought from the Online Ticket Office and App CP – is always processed through the bank.
  • When requesting a refund at a CP ticket office of a ticket bought through the online ticket office, CP App or from a travel agency, a hard copy of the ticket must be presented, along with the ID document mentioned on the ticket and no requests are accepted for tickets in any digital format or SMS.
  • Partially used tickets cannot be refunded (use of one leg of a return journey), tickets that have already been reissued once, tickets purchased through TrainSharing, Promo Tickets and return tickets where one of the legs includes Promo Ticket discount.

Journey cancellation due to reasons attributable to CP

  • A passenger will be entitled to a full refund of the price he paid for the ticket if, for reasons attributable to CP, the train is more than 30 minutes late at departure.
  • The refund prevents the use of its transport ticket.
  • The refund request must be made up to 30 days after the delay has occurred.

The refund shall not apply if the passenger:

  • Boards the train and starts the journey;
  • Acquires the transport ticket and/or validates it after the delay has been announced;
  • Uses the ticket for the refund he requested.

Source: cp.pt

2. Alvia (Spain)

This information is from Spain Rail Travel.

You can change or cancel your reservation depending on your fare.

In the ticket email, you’ll see a link wherein you can cancel your ticket, you can cancel the ticket up to 15 min before your departure. However, the tickets bought online cannot be canceled at the stations and must be changed with Alvia directly.

You have to consider Alvia’s business hours and let them know if you don’t get the email with the cancellation link.

You contact or send them an email here.

3. Eurostar (The Netherlands-Belgium-France-Great Britain)

If you will not continue your trip, you don’t have to cancel. These tickets are non-refundable but you can change your ticket before the scheduled departure of your original train (it is subject to availability). You will need to pay a fee (£30 for Standard, £40 for Standard Premier) plus any difference in fare. It is per person per leg of the journey. If the new fare, however, is less expensive, unfortunately, Eurostar can’t refund the difference. 

As what Eurostar stated, passengers’ refund request all depends on which travel class they chose and how they booked their ticket. Learn more about ‘How to Cancel Reservation and Get Refunds with Eurostar’ here.

4. Le Frecce (Italy)

You can only cancel your ticket if your fare allows you to.

This means super-economy fares do not allow tickets to be canceled. Economy tickets allow one change, but it cannot be canceled, and normal or base fares allow tickets to be canceled with a 20% penalty.

To cancel a ticket, contact [email protected]. Include your Order Number in your email. You can also call them toll-free at (877) 375-7245 to speak with a member of their customer service team. Le Frecce’s direct local number in Italy is (+39) 06 9763 2451.

The cancellation policy breakdown is as follows:

  • Trenitalia charges a 20% penalty
  • Thello charges a 10% penalty on Normal/Adult fare
  • The Smart fare is non-refundable
  • The Go fare carries a 50% penalty and must be made at least three (3) days prior to scheduled travel date

Cancellation requests are subject to a 20% penalty when received 24 hours prior to the train’s departure if the fare allows it. Train tickets canceled within 24 hours of a scheduled departure are non-refundable or determined by the fare-specific rules.

Source: Italiarail.com

5. Renfe-SNCF (Spain-France)

Depending on the fare and the amount of notice, costs may be incurred on the original ticket. Remember that if you want to change the class or date, the fare difference will also apply in price based on the fare available for the new travel date.

At your point of sale, you can find out about the specific conditions of other fares and about where you can make changes or cancel your ticket if necessary. To consult the conditions click here.

Cancellation or refund after train departure time is not permitted on any ticket.

Source: renfe-sncf.com

6. SJ (Sweden-Denmark)

  • During a cancellation 30 days or more before the departure date, 100% of the travel price will be refunded. However, the booking fee is non-refundable.
  • For cancellation 29 to 14 days before the departure date, 50% of the travel price will be refunded. The booking fee is non-refundable.
  • In the event of a cancellation 13 days or closer to the departure date, SEK 0 will be refunded.
  • If the booking includes travel with another operator, other cancellation terms may apply.

Source: sj.se

7. TGV Lyria (Switzerland-France)

Canceling tickets booked in France

You can obtain refunding for your tickets if chosen fares allow it.

Be sure you have the following information:

  • Name used during the booking process;
  • TGV Lyria number on which you had booked seats;
  • Your travel reference number (9 digits shown to the bottom right of your ticket).

From France, call 36-35 (0.40€ incl. tax/min), and say “Annuler” or enter 33.

From Switzerland, call +33 (0)892-35-35-35 and enter 3.

You can also go to a station, store or SNCF approved travel agency or log on to oui.sncf and go to the Train section, then Manage your orders.

You can cancel your tickets in France, before departure of your TGV Lyria on oui.sncf, or via the direct phone line on 36 35  (0.40€ incl. tax/min) if you made your booking on oui.sncf, in a station, store or travel agency.

Canceling tickets booked in Switzerland

The cancellation procedure depends on where you bought your ticket. You can cancel your ticket in Switzerland (excluding fares subject to special conditions) up to the time of departure of your TGV Lyria. 

Canceling tickets with a magnetic strip on the back

Be sure you have the following information: 

  • Name used during the booking process;
  • TGV Lyria number on which you had booked seats;
  • Your Travel reference number (6 letters shown to the bottom right of your ticket).

You can process at:

  • Any SNCF station in France,
  • At the customer desk or with an automatic machine. 

Source: tgv-lyria.com

8. Thalys (Belgium-the Netherlands-Germany-France)

The cancellation of your ticket is possible depending on the aftersales conditions of your fare. 

Please consult the section “My tickets” in your Thalys account and enter your travel number to know about the aftersales conditions of your ticket or check your purchase confirmation.

Your ticket can be canceled online, by phone or at the station. 

If you purchase your ticket outside the Thalys.com website, the refund must be processed through the initial purchase channel.

Click here to manage your booking.

Source: thalys.com

9. Glacier Express (Switzerland)

It’s not possible to cancel or change tickets bought online.


Railservice Glacier Express
Bahnhofstrasse 25
CH -7000 Chur
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +41 (0)81 288 65 65

Directly message them here at their Contact & Opening hours link.

10. OBB Nightjet (Austria-Italy-Germany-Switzerland)

OBB Nightjet’s general rule is that passengers are entitled to receive 25% of the one way fare of your ÖBB ticket for delays starting from 60 minutes and 50% for delays starting from 120 minutes. 

As for OBB Nightjet, if your train is canceled or delayed for more than 60 minutes, you have the following options:

  • You can choose not to start your journey at the place of departure and we will refund you the full fare.
  • You can travel on another of our trains, if necessary via another route or with another type of transport service if such a transport service is included in your ticket.
  • You can abort your journey and we will refund you the fare for the route not yet traveled.
  • If the journey you started has become useless for you, you can immediately return on another of our trains or, if necessary with another type of transport service (if such use is included in your ticket) to the place of departure and we will refund you the full fare.

11. Snalltaget 

Snalltaget’s general policy includes that they don’t offer a refund. According to Snalltaget, for a supplement paid at the same time as the ticket purchase, some tickets can be rendered refundable. Cancellation of refundable seating tickets must be made at the latest before departure. Cancellation of refundable couchette compartment tickets must be made at least the day before departure. Travel passes and tickets purchased on board the train are not refundable.

Booking fees and supplements paid to render a ticket refundable are not themselves refundable.

Read their terms and conditions here.

12. Thello

Your refund depends on the type of ticket you purchased.

  • The Smart tickets are strictly non-refundable.
  • Go tickets are only refundable up to 24 hours before departure, minus 50%. This means you will only receive 50% of the original price paid as a refund.
  • The Flexi tickets are only refundable up to 24 hours before departure, minus 10%. This means you will receive 90% of the original price paid as a refund.

See their Ticket condition here.

You can cancel your ticket if it is a Go or a Flexi ticket.

Step By Step Guide On How to Get an Exchange or Refund in Trainline
Photo by Frans Berkelaar CC BY 2.0
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About the Writer

Fatima Turla2Hi there! I’m Fatima. My first major travel was in 2016 in the beautiful city of Cebu. After that, I got interested in traveling. Now I enjoy learning languages and other country’s cultures. My goal is to visit at least one country each year and to share my experiences with other people through writing or blogging. Witness my journey by following me on Instagram.

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

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