A couple of years ago I was going to be spending a lot of time travelling by train (the fun life of a devoted music fan travelling between the North of Scotland to the South of England) and I worked out that it would be cheaper for me to buy a 16-25 Railcard so I could get the 1/3 off rail fares for just this week only, never mind the rest of the year.
There are different Railcards depending on your circumstances. The main cards are:
It costs £26 for the year and up to a third off train tickets within certain times. This is open to those that are between the ages 16-25 or those that are full-time students.
~~Family and Friends Railcard~~
If you travel with a child (between 5-15 years) you can gain a third off adult fares and 60% off child fares for £26 a year (any two adults can be named cardholders)
The senior railcard is available to those who are over 60 with a valid passport/ driving liscense for the 1/3 off for £26 also.
~~Disabled Persons Railcard~~
For those with a disability which makes train travel a bit difficult. It is £18 for the third off rail travel and also discount for your friend if they are travelling with you.
For those travelling in London and the South East, you can get 1/3 off adult and 60% off child fares for £25
These cards are priced per year, and there are time restrictions (usually peak times don't have money off) so if you travel at other times this card may prove useful.
You can purchase cards online or through your train station. I got mine at my train station and the process was quick and simple, I paid the £26 and walked away with my card ready to use. The card is just a simple card with your picture on it. If you do go to the train station you will have to have proof of age and a picture for use on the card.
Due to time restrictions it may not be beneficial to everyone, but for a lot of train travellers this card proves to be worth the £26; usually saving you more than £26 over the year.
There isn't a card for everyone, but then if there was they would just be as well reducing fares all together.
I bought my first ever railcard this year - I am a devoted driver and the cost of fuel versus the cost of going by train has never really compared whether there was one of you in the car or four. I personally never felt that I used the train enough to re-coup the cost of the railcard - how wrong!.
I bought my card via a link on money saving expert for £18 as opposed to £24, there have been promotions since giving you 3 months free and then buy for £12 for the year. Worth keeping a look out for. I also got a second card for free in my partners name.
The card enables up to 4 adults and 4 children to travel on one railcard, but to get the discounts you must have at least one child travelling with the party. The card then gives a third off all adult fares and 60% off all child fares even if you book in advance.
This year I booked with the maximum notice (3 months) for the 3 of us to go to London (2 adults and 1 child) and we went for £85 return (so this saved about £65). Based on the fact that congestion charge is £8 per day and the likely cost of parking each day in London even with the cost of the railcard this price takes alot of beating.
In addition to this there are additional discounts to be had such as discounts on staying at Ramada and Holiday Inn hotels, also 2 for 1 london outings including shows - so its alsways worth checking out the railcard offers on their website before you depart anywhere.
Using the card couldn't be easier too, as when you go to use the card on a rail internet booking site, just select the drop down box to select family railcard, and the discount is calculated.
Other railcards do exist for younger, older and disabled travellers however as I have no direct experience of these I cannot comment on how they operate.
This review is adpated from one previously submitted on ciao as dotjay19.
I work for a TOC (Train Operating Company) myself (dare I say that lol) and I am going to list all of the various railcards out there. Some you cant get and most you can get. You will need proof of your age for some cards and a photograph for all of them. Firstly we have the most commons ones. These get you some discount which I have specified below, and obviously as with all things most have Terms & Conditions which have to be followed. **The Network Railcard (NR01A). £20** Purchased before 1 June 2002 this card did allow you 34% off most railfares in a special area after 10AM, and all day at weekends. This card also allows you to take 4 kids with 81% off (min £1) This card has been replaced by the "New Network Railcard". **The NEW network Railcard (NR02A). £20** This is exactly the same as above but now has a minimum £10 fare. **The Young Persons Railcard (Y-P) £18.** You need to be aged 16-25 and/or in full time education. This entitles you to a 34% discount on most tickets purchased after the magic 10am slot, but is relaxed in july/august and bank holidays. All fares except Day Rtns, open rtns and Tickets to London International have a £7 minimum fare. The above tickets quoted have a minimum fare of £14. You also get 10% off standard tickets on the Caledonian Sleeper. **Senior Railcard (SNRCZ) £18** Obviously you need to be a senior citizen to take advantage of this card. This gives u 34% off tickets purchased at all times. It only gives you 10% off on the Caledonian Sleeper. **Disabled Persons Railcard (DISC) £14** This card is given to people registered disabled and who have filled in a form. This card is not able to be purchased from ticket offices. It gives 34% off on most tickets and an accompanied adult also gets 34% off the same ticket. 10% off on sleeper services and the same for the accompanied adult. **Family R
ailcard (FAM) £20** This gives 34% off tickets for 2 adults and a maximum of 4 kids. kids pay 81% off adult fare. Sleepers is 10% off for both fares. **HM Forces Railcard (HMF)** Not available to the general public - sorry!!! Gives 34% off most fares, 26% off other fares and 10% off first class fares. **New Deal Photocard (NDEAL)** Not available to the general public - sorry!!! This is given by the DWP to Jobseekers and gives 50% off all fares at all times. Also gives 50% off on season tickets for no more then 3 months validity. **Staff Card (PRIV)/(CHPRIV)** Not available to the general public - sorry!!! This gives 75% off all railfares at all times and gives children 88% off railfares at all times. note: I am also a member of Ciao.co.uk and this is my orignal work.
It stands to reason really! Who in their right mind would want to travel from West Dorset to Brighton in Sussex via Balham in South London? Well, I did! I was planning to fulfil a business appointment in South London, followed by a family visit to Brighton. It was 9.00am on a bright Wednesday morning in October. I considered my request was rather a reasonable one. I wanted an overnight return ticket. The man in the ticket office shook his head and told me everything I was demanding was impossible. I couldn’t have a return ticket to anywhere before 10.00am. And certainly not using the Northern Line Underground system from Waterloo to Balham, just the overhead trains, and I would have to buy a single ticket outward and another to return to West Dorset the following day. I thought quickly, and decided to skip Balham, as my business could be concluded by phone, and instead, go straight to Brighton, changing at Southampton and at Hove, obviously a very scenic route. The shock must have registered on my face when he told me the cost! £30.30 for a single ticket one way ticket! Yeah! I asked him if it was the same for the return journey. He was afraid so! £60.60 to travel to Brighton and return to Dorset the subsequent day. I considered going back into town and having a coffee, returning at 10.00am and buying a much cheaper overnight return ticket, but it was quite a walk with my overnight case, and my usual high boots, so I paid up, still suffering with shock. I wandered along the reasonably peaceful Market Town station to wait for the train, and realised the overwhelming presence of police, ambulances, social workers and station guards all over the place like a rash! I rolled a Golden Virginia and tried to relax, taking large gulps of fresh air to counteract the nicotine and calm my nerves. I watched the station guard slowly approach me from his little hut, and acknowledged the fact he was about to speak to me. “Alright dea
r?” he asked tentatively “Yes thank you!” I replied curiously “Are you sure dear?” he ventured “Yes! Why? Shouldn’t I be?” I questioned “Well” he replied with a hint of relief “ We’ve had a phone call to inform us there’s a woman in a disturbed state on the platform. That’s why all the emergency services are here!” My goodness! Did I look like a woman about to hurl herself in front of an oncoming express train? What was the description they’d been given? Mad bag lady in high boots and a worried expression on her face? Possibly I fitted this portrayal! After all, a £60.60 return ticket was sufficient to make anyone blanche and look unstable! My train arrived on time, and I had a pleasant and uneventful journey to Brighton, with plenty of time to think about my future train journeys and the need to find a cheaper means of travel whilst letting the train take the strain. Unbeknownst to me at that very moment in time, my partner Morty, having dropped me off at the station, had broken down in my ancient, unreliable F Reg Peugeot 205 Cabriolet. The cam belt had broken while driving at speed on top of a bleak, exposed, windy stretch of road and he had to walk two miles to the nearest garage as he had forgotten his mobile! Travelling by road is not an option, even though it is significantly cheaper than the train fare, a trustworthy and reliable car being paramount! Network Railcard appeared to be the only solution, meaning always travelling on a train after 10.00am in the morning for an overnight return, although this rule also applies to a cheap day return. I am still not authorized to get as early a train as I would prefer for these trips. Like many other travellers who use the rail network, the whole process is a mystery to me, but my priority is cheap, efficient and reliable travel whether for business
or pleasure. I picked up a Network Railcard brochure at Brighton Station and studied it at leisure on my return journey. This is the deal: ·For £20.00 a year, myself and three adults can get 1/3 off train fares throughout the South East. ·Children aged 5-15 get a 60% discount. ·The area this covers is Weymouth in the West to include the length of the South East coast. North to Northampton in the West and Harwich to the East. ·The tickets the Network Railcard covers with the 1/3 discount are: ·Cheap Day Singles ·One Day Travelcard ·Network AwayBreaks ·Saver Tickets ·Standard Singles ·Open Returns ·Standard Day Singles and Returns ·Some Rail/Sea journeys to the Isle of Wight and Red Funnel Ferries Tickets that cannot be bought with a Network Railcard are: ·First Class ·Rail air Links ·Gatwick Express ·Anglia Railways ·Eurostar ·Heathrow Express I cannot use my Network Railcard for journeys before 10.00am on any weekday and I am recommended to avoid the busy peak period between 17.30.and 19.00. I can travel at any time I like at weekends and Bank Holidays. Any Network Railcard bought or renewed before 18th May 2002 will be valid for fifteen months rather than the normal twelve months. Of course this makes sense. In reality, if I had bought a Network Railcard prior to my journey to Brighton, and caught the 10.00am outward train, then my trip would have cost me half the price allowing for the fact that I would have been buying an overnight return at a lesser cost, plus 1/3 discount with the Railcard. I live fifteen miles from the nearest railway station where I could have bought my Network Railcard in person, so once back in Dorset, I elected to purchase by ‘phone from home. I called South-West trains on 0845 6000650 and was dealt with efficiently and politely by a Call Centre representative. The whole proces
s took a few minutes. I paid by credit card over the telephone, was given a reference number and promised a first class, next day postal delivery. My Network Railcard arrived the next morning by first post as promised. The envelope contained a red plastic wallet with my new railcard valid for fifteen months, and a transparent pocket for any train tickets needed during my journeys. I have a Sales Voucher for my own records, and my Sales Assistant contact name, including any telephone numbers I may need for queries. I journey to London and the South East twice a month, and will be for the foreseeable future. I look forward to cheaper travel and covering the cost of my Network Railcard with just two expeditions. I consider my Network Railcard a worthwhile expenditure, and wish I had bought one six months ago. I will certainly use it for shopping trips to Exeter and Bournemouth as well as my business and family visits to London, Sussex and Surrey. If you are aged 16-25, travel regularly with children, or are aged 60 and over there are other choices that may benefit you more and suit your individual requirements. Do ask about Young Person’s Railcard, Family Railcard or Senior Railcard or visit: www.railcard.co.uk
As myself and my husband don’t drive, our favourite way to travel is by train, the only real alternative is coach, which with three young children in almost impossible. Travelling by train is quite expensive, but there are ways to make it cheaper. On many journeys there is a discount for booking tickets in advance and there are a number of different Rail Cards which offer discounted travel for 12 months for a small fee. The one that I know most about is the Family Rail Card, which cost’s £20 per year (that’s just £1.67 per month) and allows discounted travel for one or two named adults plus up to two other adults and up to four children aged 5 - 16. If the only child travelling is under 5, you may still purchase a ticket for them to enable the Adults in the group to benefit from the discounted rates, we did this when our eldest was under 5 as it was cheaper to pay for him than to pay full fares for us. The typical discounts are 30% off the adult fares and 60% off the child’s fare. We have just booked tickets for two adults and two children (our youngest is under 5 so doesn’t have to pay) from Blackpool North to Cramlington (just outside Newcastle) and they cost £93.60. Without the Rail Card the cost was nearly £200, so we have saved the £20 for the Travel Card on this journey alone, and we still have 12 months to go. Until next May (2002) there is a special offer of 15 months for the price of 12 to say sorry for the problems that have been experienced since the Hatfield Crash. This extra three months means that the monthly cost is reduced to just £1.33 per month. The other types of Rail Card available for National Rail Travel are Young Persons Rail Card (age 16-25 or Mature Student), Senior Rail Card (over 60), and Disabled Rail Card (See Detail on National Rail Site). There is also a Network Card which is Valid in the South of England on Network Southeast. Unfortunately I d
o not have experience of these Schemes and cannot comment on them. More information on Rail Cards is available from your local manned Railway Station or from www.nationalrail.co.uk