Is Club 55 worth it?

By | Category: Travel rumblings


This is the time of the year when railway companies introduce their promotions like Club 55 to encourage us to fill those empty seats on trains. GWR and TransPennine Express both have price promotion whereby, for example on GWR, you can travel on a single ticket from London Paddington to Swansea for £12 and to Bath for £8 and with TransPennine Express you save 25% provided you book online or using their app.

ArrivaTrains Wales, in its last year of running the trains in Wales and the Borders, has returned with its Club 55 promotions whereby a return ticket is available for £27 providing you travel after 9.30am.

Scot Rail has its Club 50 but to join you have to pay £15, worth it if you use the train regularly. The advantage is that you can get discounts throughout the year. At present it is offering a flat fare of £17 to those Club 50 members but, once again, that applies only to travelling at off-peak times.

And there’s my moan.

Arriva Trains Wales have restrictions on travel times. Originally when Just about Travel first started to write up these stories, the time restraints affected only those that journeys that connected into busy commuter cities where commuters would fill the seats. Gradually the restrictions have become more onerous making you wonder whether it is worth buying a Club 55 ticket at all.

Take a journey on a rural line; say Milford Haven to Hereford. The first train you can catch from Milford Haven is 11.08 meaning you won’t get to Hereford until after 3pm. No chance of a day trip to Hereford there. Why can’t the policy be the same as that at ScotRail where arrival before 9.30 in the main Scottish cities is not allowed.  At least that way a person could make a day trip whereas at present, Club 55 is discouraging day trips.

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