In order to reduce the cost of rail travel in the UK, ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies - or what British Rail has become) have a discount card system available to certain groups of people. The cards can be purchased from travel agencies and staffed railway ticket offices in the UK, or via telephone. Most of these cards have usage restrictions, but usually provide 1/3rd off the cost of Rail travel in the UK.

  • Young Persons Railcard
    • Who? - Anyone aged between 16 and 25, and anyone in full-time education aged 26 or over
    • What? - 1/3rd off most Standard class fares (restrictions apply)
    • How much? - £18 a year
  • Senior Railcard
    • Who? - Anyone aged 60 or over
    • What? - 1/3rd off most Standard and First class fares (restrictions apply)
    • How much? - £18 a year
  • Family Railcard
    • Who? - 1 or 2 people aged 16 or over. A minimum of 1 adult and 1 child and a maximum of 4 adults and 4 children can travel on one card
    • What? - 1/3rd off most Standard class fares (restrictions apply) for adults and 60% off child fares (£1 minimum fare)
    • How much? - £20 a year
  • Network Railcard
    • Who? - Anyone aged 16 or over for travel by train in London and the South East of England
    • What? - 1/3rd off most Standard class fares (restrictions apply) and 60% off child fares (£1 minimum fare). Up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel on one card
    • How much? - £20 a year
  • Disabled Persons Railcard
    • Who? - You qualify if you
      • are registered as visually impaired
      • are registered deaf
      • have epilepsy, and are disabled by repeated attacks even though you receive drug treatment
      • receive Attendance Allowance
      • receive Disability Living Allowance (in the Higher Rate for help with getting around, or in the Higher or Middle Rate for help with personal care)
      • receive Severe Disablement Allowance
      • receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
      • receive War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more disability
      • are the driver of a vehicle provided under the Invalid Vehicle Scheme (before 1976) or if you are buying or leasing a vehicle through the ‘Motability’ scheme
    • What? - 1/3rd off First and Standard class fares for you and 1 adult travelling with you
    • How much? - £14 a year

The restrictions that apply can be labyrinthine. The discount cards cannot be used on Eurostar, Heathrow Express, special charters and excursions, and some bus links. Some special offers from train companies and season tickets cannot be be discounted. Travel before 10am (i.e. commuter travel) involves a minimum fare which you cannot get discounted.

The best thing to do about these restrictions is ASK when booking, as there are almost as many loopholes as restrictions. Pleading ignorance with the ticket inspector also works (sometimes)!

This information is correct as of February 2004 - /msg me if information needs updating

www.railcard.co.uk

In addition to the above:

  • HM Forces Railcard
    • Who? - You qualify if you are a serving member of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, or if you are a member of a foreign Service on permanent attachment to any of said Forces.
    • What? - 1/3 off standard and first fares for you only, or 1/4 off savers/supersavers and promotional tickets.
    • How Much? - £2 per year (apply through your unit admin officer (RN, RM, Army) or Personnel Services Flight (RAF).

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