One of London’s busiest train stations has descended into chaos this morning. A fire close to the tracks between Clapham Junction and London Victoria has halted operations leaving many rush-hour services delayed or cancelled.

Southern Rail is believed to be worse affected, and the Gatwick Express is also experiencing disruption.

The National Rail have said trains are not expected to be running properly until 10:00am. Services are being diverted into London Bridge where Thameslink trains and some Southern trains are still running.

Passengers seeking an alternative route can use their tickets on London buses and the London Underground. Southern has advised via social media that passengers due to use the affected stations should avoid travelling by rail where possible.

Those travelling to Gatwick via rail will be concerned about missing their flights. In this event, passengers should check their travel insurance.

I missed my flight due to rail delays; will my travel insurance cover me?

Passengers should read their policy wording carefully and check the cover levels available to them before booking an alternative flight as this will differ between travel insurance companies.

Most policies will offer to pay a set amount, usually between £500 and £1500, towards the cost of alternative transport to get you to your trip destination. It is important to note that this cover is only available to passengers who have pre-booked their delayed public transport or have cover for ‘any reason which they could not have been expected to foresee or avoid’.

Passengers hoping to use this cover will need to obtain a letter from the rail company stating the reason for the delay, a copy of the original train ticket and any receipts for alternative transport.

Will the rail company compensate me?

According to the National Rail website, passengers may be entitled to compensation or a refund if they experience a delay due to the fire. The type and amount of compensation available will depend on the train company, ticket type and length of delay.

Those looking to submit a claim for compensation can obtain a form from station staff or downloading the form online. The copy of the ticket and the intended journey will need to be noted on the claim form.

Meanwhile, passengers travelling with British Airways at Gatwick are also facing delays this morning. A major computer glitch mean BA passengers are not able to check-in and most flights are grounded as pilots are unable to receive the information needed to prepare the aircraft. Passengers are being advised to check the website for updates and allow plenty of time to clear check-in and security.

Am I entitled to compensation if my flight is delayed due to British Airways?

If the delay has been caused directly by the airline (i.e. not an extraordinary circumstance like adverse weather or strike action) then it is likely passengers will be entitled to claim for compensation. Passengers are advised to speak to the airline to find out what compensation is offered.

Am I entitled to food and accommodation if my flight is delayed?

Though compensation may not be available, passengers are entitled to assistance from their airline. Under the Denied Boarding Regulation, airlines should provide food and drink, phone calls and overnight accommodation if necessary. The type of assistance will depend on the length of flight and how long passengers are delayed for. The eligibility is as follows:

  • A two-hour delay for a flight under 932 miles
  • A three-hour delay for a flight over 932 miles, in the EU
  • A three-hour delay for a flight between 932 and 2174 miles, outside of the EU
  • A four-hour delay on any flight
Can my travel insurance help?

Most travel insurance policies will offer a small amount of compensation to passengers affected by delays. This is usually per set period of time and up to a total amount. For example, £10.00 for every 12-hour period up to £100.00. Some policies will offer compensation for every 6-hour period, and the amount available will differ.

Travel abandonment may also be an option. Passengers who decide to cancel their holiday after a 24-hour or 12-hour delay, depending on the policy, will be covered for cancellation.

Both delay compensation and travel abandonment cover will only be available if the passenger checked-in on time and the airline had not already announced the delay or cancellation.