What are your rights if your train in Norway is delayed or cancelled?
Trains in Norway, particularly in the east, have struggled with punctuality recently, leaving many passengers frustrated and running late. So what are your rights when your departure is delayed or cancelled?
Last year wasn't a vintage one for Norway's railway network. The newspaper VG reports that 32 percent of departures in Norway were either delayed or cancelled in 2022.
2022 may have been the worst year for a while, but typically around a quarter of trains end up being delayed, cancelled or both, according to figures stretching back to 2014.
A train delay or cancellation can throw a significant spanner in the works of your travel plans. This is incredibly frustrating as the cost of taking the train in Norway is quite expensive compared to elsewhere.
Such is the issue with punctuality with some Norwegian trains, state-owned rail company Vy paid out over 20 million kroner in compensation to passengers in 2022.
So what are your rights as a customer if your train is delayed?
Unfortunately, the rules are confusing as it will depend on which type of train you are taking, the length of the journey, how long you are delayed and who you are travelling with.
For example, if you are travelling on a long-distance train, these are the ones that travel between Oslo and Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim, Oslo and Kristiansand/Stavanger and Trondheim and Bodø, then you will need to be delayed more than 60 minutes.
However, if you are delayed more than 30 minutes on other train routes, you will be entitled to compensation.
Alternatively, you can also choose to rebook the ticket if you wish.
How much compensation are you allowed?
By law, passengers can claim a 25 percent refund on the ticket prices if they arrive at your stop more than 60 minutes late or 50 percent when you are at least 120 minutes late.
However, some companies offer more than what is required by law in the event that you are delayed. For example, Vy, SJ and Go-Ahead allow passengers 50 percent of the ticket price if there is an hour delay on long journeys. For shorter trips, you can claim half back if you are delayed by 30 minutes.
You will be entitled to a refund even if you haven't incurred any extra expenses due to the issue and if you are rebooked onto another train or taken by a replacement bus service.
Additionally, as long as there isn't a strike or extreme weather event causing the delay (or something deemed beyond the control of Bane Nor, which operates rail infrastructure), you can also request to have any additional expenses covered in relation to the delay.
This can be done in cases when the train company has been unable to fund alternative transport. You will need to keep the receipts of these expenses, and they must be within reasonable limits.
This means you can't order a private limo and steak dinner in lieu of the train being late. You also can't claim when other transport options provided by the rail company are available, and you have time to take it.
If you are taking a connecting service, you also need to have calculated a reasonable time to make the transfer in case of delays.
If you are travelling to the airport, you will need to have calculated an extra 60 minutes on long-distance trains and 30 minutes on short-distance trains to check-in time at the airport. Therefore you will need to calculate arriving at the airport at least 30 minutes before the check-in time from the airline to be eligible for compensation if you are held up.
If you do face delays but don't account for them in your planning, you will not be eligible, even if you miss your flight.
On the Flytoget service, if you are delayed more than 30 minutes and miss your flight, you can demand a new plane ticket.
How to complain
If you are delayed or have a service cancelled, then you should ask a conductor for proof and confirmation.
Then you will need to lodge a complaint with the company you travelled with, and then one to the Transport Complaints Board.