Understanding CIV

You will be 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

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"). The 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.
If one leg of your trip is delayed and you have tickets for onward travel on a train which runs to schedule, CIV means that you're usually permitted to travel on a later train. Refunds and exchanges are only permitted as per fare conditions. The CIV rules only cover disruption during travel, and 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. If you are unsure if your ticket is covered, please contact us. 

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. This means that if you are travelling on a cross-border train that is disrupted, causing you to miss your your onward connection, you will be offered a place on the next available train. For journeys with two legs, 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

Domestic journeys in the UK do not normally offer CIV protection. In theory this means that a UK train delay which causes you to miss a Eurostar connection may result in the need to purchase a new Eurostar ticket. In practice this rarely happens, and Eurostar are often willing to provide passage on the next train for any customer able to provide evidence of a delay to the UK leg of their journey. However this is not a formal Eurostar policy and this is why we normally recommend buying CIV tickets.

If you purchase a journey from the UK to mainland Europe on Loco2 (i.e. any search that includes a domestic UK and Eurostar journey), you will be given the option to repeat the search, adding CIV protection to your journey.

CIV tickets for travel in the UK are only valid if you have proof of a onward Eurostar journey and for this reason CIV tickets can only be purchased on Loco2 at the same time as purchasing a Eurostar ticket. You should show your Eurostar ticket or collection reference to the ticket inspector.

The UK CIV ticket type has several restrictions and benefits, summarised as followed:

  • Your UK train journey is covered by international conditions of carriage, described above.
  • If your train in the UK is delayed, you'll be eligible for a partial refund for that ticket depending on the length and cause of the delay. 
  • If the UK leg of your journey is delayed by more than 1 hour and miss your connection, you'll be offered a place on the next available Eurostar.
  • Similarly, if your Eurostar to London is delayed and you miss your onward UK connection, the UK train operator will let you take the next available train, even if you have a ticket that is bound to a specific train.
  • CIV tickets have fewer time restrictions than normal tickets, so you may find they offer a discount on peak time trains.
  • Prices are usually slightly more expensive than non-CIV tickets for the same route, though they can be cheaper during peak times.
  • Tickets to "London St Pancras International CIV" also include travel on the London Underground (if necessary) to/from London St. Pancras. The symbol of a cross '+' or '†' on your ticket denotes that it is eligible for one journey across London by Underground/DLR services.

How to buy CIV tickets for UK journeys 

When searching for an international journey from the UK that transfers at London St Pancras (i.e., Cambridge to Paris) you will be given the option to repeat your search and add CIV protection for the domestic leg of the journey:

Simply click "Repeat the search with CIV protection" and you will see results including CIV tickets for the UK part of your journey..

Please note that you must purchase an onward Eurostar ticket at the same time as purchasing UK CIV tickets on Loco2. To obtain CIV tickets separately to a Eurostar purchase, you must take proof of an existing Eurostar booking to any UK train station and buy tickets there.

Am I eligible for compensation under CIV?

There are lots of instances in which passengers may or may not be entitled to compensation. The rail operators look at every claim on a case by case basis, and Loco2 will take responsibility for submitting a claim on your behalf.

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  contact us and we will help you to submit a claim or submit it on your behalf, depending on the rail operator.

If you 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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