What Railcards Are Available To Students?
yellow and black train on railways
Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

What Railcards Are Available To Students?

Jasmyne Jeffery February 23, 2023

Whether it be commuting to university or travelling home for the weekend, students are often using trains. Commonly known for their expense, it definitely isn’t the cheapest way to get from A to B. That’s why looking into student railcards is important, particularly when there are discounts to get a good deal.

For some reason, travelling by train in the UK is beyond expensive. Though it’s incredibly convenient and an eco-friendly mode of transport, the cost doesn’t make it sustainable for students. Luckily, there’s no need for anyone above 16 and at university to pay full price.

The 16-25 Railcard

Giving students and those up to 25 a third off their fares, the 16-25 railcard is a great option for students who travel using trains frequently. It costs £30 a year, or £70 for three! Even better, you can still apply for the three-year card up until you turn 24, so you can carry on saving way past 25.

Often referred to as the student railcard because of the age bracket it applies to, those in university can even get a discount on the card itself. Going through Student Beans means current students and recent graduates can sometimes get a small percentage off of the card price, result!

On average, those with the 16-25 railcard save over £150 a year, meaning £5 on each journey they take. As money is a little tight at the moment, that £30 investment would mean you get your money back and more.

The cards come with an expiry date, so make sure you renew it before it runs out so you can carry on saving.

What’s really important to remember is to take your railcard with you each time you travel. You’ll be expected to show proof of it if asked and if you can’t show it then you’ll have to pay for a full-price ticket. This is on top of what you paid for your discounted one. Definitely not worth the expense.

The 26-30 Railcard

Obviously, there are a lot of students who are over 25, and they can get the 26-30 railcard. This offers the same saving as the younger bracket, but on average people save more — over £200 a year!

Photo by paolo candelo on Unsplash

Anyone over 25 and under 30 can get this card (which makes you wonder why they don’t make a 16-30 card, but I digress…) and it still only costs £30 a year.

Like the above, there is a digital version of the card meaning as long as you have the app and your phone with you, then you shouldn’t be in a position of not being able to show it.

There are often promotional codes for both of these cards throughout the year if you can’t use a student discount. Whilst you’re guaranteed to get your money back anyway, we all like saving even more money where we can.

You will be able to get this card even if you are older than 30 if you are a mature student. All you have to do is get your university and some ID to verify your status. Unfortunately, those enrolled at the Open University aren’t eligible.

Are There Any Other Student Railcards?

Yes, if you are studying in Wales then you can get discounted train journeys with the Valleys Student Card. This gives you the same saving as the 16-30 cards, but can only be used on eligible routes in the Cardiff and Valley routes.

So, if you live in the capital and need to commute to a campus that’s more rural, or vis-versa, then this is a great option for you. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than the other railcards, only costing £12.50 for the year. As someone who used this card, it’s a really great option and will definitely save you some money.

Getting it is slightly more complicated, however. You’ll need to head to any of the eligible stations on the Valleys route with a form of student ID and a passport-size photo. Conveniently, they can make your card then and there as long as you can pay and have all the information. There is no digital copy of this card. So, you need to make sure you have it on you when travelling or else you’ll be fined.

What’s important to take from this, is that there are lots of ways to save on train travel. No matter your age or where you study, you can get a discount!

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.