National Rail Conditions of Carriage

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The National Rail Conditions of Carriage are a contractual document setting out the consumer's rights and responsibilities when travelling on the National Rail railway network in Great Britain. As of May 2014 the version issued on 20 May 2012 was current.

When a train ticket is purchased, a contract is established. The NRCoC are the principal terms of that contract between traveller and train operating company (TOC), which have been established by the Rail Settlement Plan, which is part of the Association of Train Operating Companies. The document is available for public viewing at [1], and also as a free PDF download.

Additional terms do apply to travellers, primarily from two sources:

  • For certain ticket types (such as those purchased at discount in advance),the TOCs concerned apply additional terms and conditions on top of the NRCoC. However, Condition 19 makes it the passenger's responsibility to ensure that their ticket is valid, and so any such additional terms must be available for examination when buying a ticket.
  • The NRCoC cover the entitlement and restrictions of travellers, however they are not the only document to do so. Under the Transport Act 2000 (section 219), the Railway Bylaws also apply, though more generally.

Content[edit]

The NRCoC are arranged into four sections plus three appendices; the 20 May 2012 edition has 30 numbered pages. The first section deals with passenger tickets and the other sections deal with luggage, lost property and other matters.

Whilst the NRCoC are referred to on all train tickets, at stations, and on internet sites selling tickets for rail travel, very few travellers ever bother to read the document, unless they find themselves in dispute with a rail company on some matter. They are, however, of use to the consumer, because they afford considerable rights to the traveller with regards ticket validity. This has become a matter of significant public interest recently, in view of the complex and convoluted pricing structure of rail tickets in Great Britain.

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