Over 50 rail deals

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Over a decade ago, different rail companies started introducing a special promotion rate for those over 55. Just about Travel regularly ran stories in the spring and autumn reminding people that the offer was re-starting and pointing out some of the benefits and restrictions.

Check whether an ordinary ticket would be cheaper than a promotional ticket (costing £29) on TfW would be better value – and more convenient!

The ScotRail started charging £15 per year for membership, some train companies like TransPennine Express dropped the idea whilst others reduced the age trigger point from 55 to 50.

When Just about Travel first started writing about this type of promotion way back in  2010, this type of promotion looked a good opportunity for those travelling on a day out. Since then  fewer and fewer train  companies have participated and the linked deals whereby you could travel on an adjacent train company’s tracks on payment of another fiver or so seem to have gone as well.

Last year I wondered whether it was worth any reader buying one of these tickets given the restrictions on when you can travel. This year I am pretty sure the promotion has run its course and most readers will find the time restrictions on when you can or cannot travel as being off-putting.

Transport for Wales (TfW) has lowered the age to 50 for travellers meaning only those aged 40-50 should really consider the idea. Anyone 60 and over would do better with a senior rail card.

TfW, unlike ScotRail doesn’t allow travel before 09.30 (With ScotRail you can’t arrive before 09.30) which is prejudicial to those in rural areas. It means they would be unlikely to get to major places of interest like Cardiff, Birmingham, Chester or Caernarfon. Secondly, you would have to be prepared to travel probably for more than two hours to justify paying £29 for the return ticket otherwise a standard fare might be cheaper. And who, on a day out would want to travel for more than four hours on the day especially since you can’t travel until after 0930?

It might make financial sense to TfW and ScotRail to make these charges but it doesn’t make much practical sense to travellers between 40 and 50. If there are two or more of you, car travel or a Family & Friends or Two Together Card could be better value.

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