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Railcards confusion

m c
Canada
2 posts
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Railcards confusion

There are so many types of rail cards and I can't decide which one is the most suitable for my case. How do they work anyway?

I plan to:

* Return travel from London to Edinburgh by train (my times costs approx 39GBP each way)

* Return trip from London to Bath by train (my times costs approx 16GBP each way)

* Assume 3 days of Underground travel in London (planning to get 3 x anytime day pass)

I'm travelling with 3 adults and 16 year old.

There are so many types of railcards and I'm quite confused. Is it worth it to get railcards?

Any expert can point me the right option?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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56,034 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Railcards confusion

You might get value from a Family and Friends railcard, although if you've found fares to and from Edinburgh for £40 single and to and from Bath for £16 single, they may be the best available and could not be bettered with a railicard.

Save money by buying one day Travelcards at a National Rail station in London and use the offers here: www.daysoutguide.co.uk

You've found good rail fares, so I say book them and be happy to do so. But before that, make a dummy booking at the EastCoast website for your trip to Scotland and another for the trip to Bath. If the fares are substantially different, you'll have your answer.

m c
Canada
2 posts
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2. Re: Railcards confusion

I have tried the EastCoast website and the fares are quite the same as elsewhere (ie thetrainline). Is EastCoast normally more expansive or cheaper than others?

How do those railcards work anyway? My understanding is that I have to pay 28GBP to purchase the card and then I get some discount when buying tickets/ London travelcards, correct?

Oxfordshire
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2,630 posts
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3. Re: Railcards confusion

"although if you've found fares to and from Edinburgh for £40 single and to and from Bath for £16 single, they may be the best available and could not be bettered with a railicard."

Wrong.

Except under very odd circumstances, Railcard discounts are cumulative. In 99.999% of cases, both those prices would be reduced by a further ~30% by using an F&F card. On the numbers quoted, the discount might not exceed the £28 cost - but if total train fares (however heavily discounted already) add up to £90 or over, they're definitely worth it

"then I get some discount when buying tickets/ London travelcards, correct?"

Probably incorrect.

Most railcards offer ~30% reductions only on RAILWAY journeys: they don't usually affect urban transport (such as Transport for London). The Travelcard TP describes is a card valid only on TfL routes, and therefore doesn't get further discounts from Railcards

(For completists:

1. the Senior Railcard can be linked to an Oystercard, offering ~30% discount on the daily cap: but this probably doesn't affect the poster

2. A Travelcard sold by a National Rail ticket office, and therefore qualifying for 241s, is still a TfL tickert, so doesn't get discounted by Railcards

3. "Travelcard" is also a term the railway companies use to describe a ticket issued outside London for travel into London combined with TfL routes within London that day. Those Travelcards ARE subject to discounts on presenting a Railcard. But the poster's London based, so the issue doesn't apply )

Details of Railcards at www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/17.aspx. Note that Railcards may be used more or less only at offpeak times, and that the definition of "offpeak" can be different with one Railcard type than with others

Oxfordshire
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2,630 posts
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4. Re: Railcards confusion

"Is EastCoast normally more expansive or cheaper than others?"

The East Coast site is run by a train operating company. It may occasionally have deals not available on more general sites - or it may exclude deals offered by competitors (there are other ways of getting from London to Edinburgh by train than using East Coast, though they're mostly tortuous)

Trainline's quoted prices EXCLUDE fees and delivery charges.

Nationalrail.co.uk shows the best prices it's been advised of, then when you decide what you want, clicks you through to the train operating company to complete the purchase. There are no hidden charges or last-minute surprises. ALWAYS preferable to Trainline.

But on longer journeys, always worth checking the train operator's own site to see if they're offering web specials

Stirling, United...
Destination Expert
for Stirling
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14,350 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Railcards confusion

16 year old is an Adult for railway ticketing purposes, and you must have at least one child (5-15) for a Family Railcard.

Stirling, United...
Destination Expert
for Stirling
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6. Re: Railcards confusion

London-Edinburgh on East Coast trains, on Advance tickets you usually get a 10% discount booking on the East Coast website. Worth seeing if First Class is available for not much more, for such a long journey, especially at weekdays (at weekends the food offering is less generous). First Class has more spacious seating, free wifi and food/drink.

Cotswolds
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11,381 posts
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7. Re: Railcards confusion

Groupsave (4 adults for the price of two) can be cheaper on walk on fares. It doesn't apply to advance singles on the Bath route - whether it beats those varies according to how cheap the advances are,

Depending where and how you have looked it may already be in the fares you have found

Edited: 27 April 2013, 08:57
London, United...
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6,627 posts
20 reviews
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8. Re: Railcards confusion

"2. A Travelcard sold by a National Rail ticket office, and therefore qualifying for 241s, is still a TfL tickert, so doesn't get discounted by Railcards"

All three railcards (plus 2 others) do give a discount on one day adult travelcards bought on paper from NR stations albeit from £7.30 for a 1-2 zone down to £5.90 for a 6 zone one day TC so not much saving especially in the short term. The senior and 16-25 railcards are restricted to discounts for the holder only whilst the F&F will give discounts for the party of upto 4 adults and 4 children (5-15years old).

In your case as you have a 16 year old with you it won't be a viable option, if the adults are 60+ then a senior railcard each plus a 16-25 card may work but will cost £28 each so not worth it.

See http://www.railcard.co.uk/ for info on railcards.

9. Re: Railcards confusion

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