The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury
The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury

Trains and Cost – Part 6: National Rail Conditions of Carriage

This is the sixth post in a series on UK Trains and Railways; this post is  specificly about the terms and conditions that you aggree to when you purchase a ticket; previous parts can be read by clicking on these links: one, two, three, four, five, and my post on Social / Anti-Social Transport.

One of the things that really upsets me off about TOCs (Train Operating Company) and travelling by train is the really terrible contract that you enter into with the TOC when a train ticket is purchased; the NRCoC (2011-10-05 – NRCoC Current Issue) is the document that lays out just how little the train company have do do for you after you have handed them your hard earned money, The NRCoC sets out the consumer’s rights and responsibilities when travelling on the National Rail network. Some of the NRCoC do not seem to be based on any supporting documents; however some of the conditions seem to be derived from the Railway Byelaws (Made under Section 219 of the Transport Act 2000 by the SRA (Strategic Rail Authority)).

Getting hold of a copy is not always as easy as it should be, despite the following being printed on the back of the ticket I have in my hand:

Travel is subject to National Rail Conditions of Carriage (NRCoC) and to the conditions of carriage of other operators on whose services this ticker is valid. Copies of the NRCoC can be obtained from any staffed national rail station or from website:

I have tried acquiring a copy of the NRCoC from Swindon, Bath, Bristol Parkway, and Bristol Temple Meads stations recently; BTM was the only Station with a copy (as in a black and white laser printed copy); however they would not hand it out for me to take away. that is hardly a useful definition of obtain:


verb /əbˈtān/  /äb-/
obtained, past participle; obtained, past tense; obtaining, present participle; obtains, 3rd person singular present

  1. Get, acquire, or secure (something)
    • an opportunity to obtain advanced degrees
  2. Be prevalent, customary, or established
    • the price of silver fell to that obtaining elsewhere in the ancient world


get, acquire, gain, procure, receive, win, take, attain, secure, make, come by

Ah and one of the other fun things about this contractual document is that it changes every so often, without them informing you about the new issue, or them listing what has changed between issues.

I have asked for previous editions, so I could make a copy with all the changes listed; however the Rail Settlement Plan, which is part of ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies) is not willing to share previous editions, However I have obtained some of the historical documents:

with a view to making a composite document showing the updates and alterations between issues, and where they reference other texts what the external document states).

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