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Railcards

Having a railcard entitles you to as much as a third off most train fares, so it's well worth getting hold of one if you're a frequent traveller and can find one that suits you.

Be aware that it's crucial to read the full terms and conditions of any railcard before you buy it. Most don't cover peak-time train tickets, for example - and that's well worth knowing if you tend to travel early in the morning.

Likewise, don't forget that when you purchase a discounted train ticket with any railcard you will need to have that railcard with you throughout your journey. If you buy train tickets online and plan to pick them up from the station, don't forget to grab your railcard on your way out of the door! If you don't, you could be forced to buy a new, expensive 'on the day' ticket for your trip.

Here's what you need to know about the different national and regional railcards that are currently available.

National railcards

16 - 25 railcard

Perennially popular with students, the 16 - 25 railcard (formerly known as the Young Person's railcard) is for anyone aged 16 - 25 or for people aged over 25 and in full time education.

It offers a third off most rail fares and costs £30 per year.

You can read the full terms and conditions and apply for your 16 - 25 railcard at the dedicated 16 - 25 railcard website.

A top tip for those mourning the end of their time as a 'young person': renew your railcard just before you turn 26 and you'll benefit from an extra year of cheap train travel.

Time Restrictions: Can be used anytime

Minimum Fare: A £12 minimum fare applies before 10am Monday-Friday (except advance fares)

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: Only advance fares


26 - 30 railcard

A brand new railcard, released fully in 2018 offers cheaper fares for those aged 26-30.

It offers a third off most rail fares and costs £30 per year.

You can read the full terms and conditions and apply for your 26 - 30 railcard at the dedicated 26 - 30 railcard website.

Renew your railcard just before you turn 31 and you'll benefit from an extra year of cheap train travel.

Time Restrictions: Can be used anytime

Minimum Fare: A £12 minimum fare applies before 10am Monday-Friday (except advance fares)

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: Only advance fares


Disabled Person's railcard

The Disabled Person's railcard is designed for those who have a disability that can make train travel more difficult.

It costs £20 per year, and cardholders - plus one other person travelling with them - will save a third off most train tickets.

You can find out more about who is eligible for the card, and how to get one, at the Disabled Person's railcard website.

Time Restrictions: Can be used anytime

Minimum Fare: No minimum fare applies

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: Yes


Family and Friends railcard

As a Family and Friends railcard holder you could save up to a third off most adult fares, plus 60% off most children's train tickets. The railcard costs just £30 per year, so it's a great bet if you want to enjoy family days out without the stress of driving.

The Family and Friends railcard covers up to four adults and four children (aged 5 - 15) travelling together, and cardholders can also access special discounts on travel, theatre trips and 'experience days'.

At least one adult and one child named on the railcard must be travelling with you if you wish to qualify for any discount on rail fares.

Apply for your Family and Friends railcard and read the the full terms and conditions on the Family and Friends railcard website.

Time Restrictions: Off-Peak (not before 9:30 Monday-Friday, but is allowed during afternoon peak)

Minimum Fare: No minimum fare applies

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: No


HM Forces railcard

The HM Forces railcard is for members of the Regular Armed Services or Volunteer Reserves, and their spouses or civil partners.

The HM Forces railcard costs £19 per year and cardholders are entitled to a third off most rail fares for adults, as well as 60% off train tickets for children aged 5 - 15.

Find out more about HM Forces railcards and how to apply for one at the HM Forces railcard website.

Time Restrictions: Can be used anytime

Minimum Fare: A £12 minimum fare applies before 10am Monday-Friday

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: Yes


Senior railcard

The Senior railcard is for anyone aged 60+ and entitles the holder a third off most train tickets. It costs £30 per year.

Like many other railcards it also comes with associated offers on days out, dining and other leisure experiences.

You can learn more at the Senior railcard website.

Time Restrictions: Off-Peak (not before 9:00 Monday-Friday)

Minimum Fare: No minimum fare applies

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: Yes


Two Together railcard

The Two Together railcard is designed for couples or friends who frequently travel together and are both aged over 16. It costs £30 per year (or £15 per person).

This railcard entitles the holders to a third off the cost of most fares, plus a range of other discounts.

Learn more about the Two Together railcard and apply for yours online at the Two Together railcard website.

Time Restrictions: Off-Peak (not before 9:30 Monday-Friday)

Minimum Fare: No minimum fare applies

Standard Class Discount: Yes

First Class Discount: Yes


Regional railcards

Gold Card

The Annual Gold Card is issued free to travellers who hold annual Transport for London Travelcards or annual season tickets in the south of England, within the Annual Gold Card area. This area extends all the way from Exeter to Shrewsbury and from Eastbourne to Great Yarmouth, including the Midlands.

This railcard entitles the holder to a range of discounts on train and Oyster travel for journeys wholly within the Annual Gold Card area, including up to a third off anytime and off peak tickets and 60% off rail fares for children aged 5 - 15. It also offers discounts for up to three other adults who may be travelling with you.

For more information on the Annual Gold Card, where discounts apply and which train companies it covers, visit the National Rail website.

Note that not all train companies operating within the Annual Gold Card area participate in the scheme (for example, Virgin Trains is not included).

Nor can you apply for an Annual Gold Card online; instead, you'll need to get yours at the station where you originally purchased your annual season ticket or Travelcard.

Time Restrictions: Off-Peak (not before 9:30 Monday-Friday)

Minimum Fare: A £13 minimum fare applies anytime Monday-Friday

Standard Class Discount: Yes (except advance fares)

First Class Discount:Yes (except advance fares)No


Network railcard

The Network railcard costs £30 a year and is available to anyone aged over 16 travelling within the Network rail area, which covers London and the South East.

As a cardholder you'll save a third on most rail fares within the Network rail area and will also be eligible for a range of other offers. These include discounted Transport for London Travelcards and cut price entry to attractions such as theme parks and museums.

For more information on the Network railcard, where discounts apply and how to get yours, visit the Network railcard website.

Time Restrictions: Off-Peak (not before 10:00 Monday-Friday)

Minimum Fare: A £13 minimum fare applies anytime Monday-Friday

Standard Class Discount: Yes (except advance fares)

First Class Discount: No