Taking the train to the countryside and spending a fortune on train fares? Looking to save money on your train journeys? Living in or near London? There’s a solution for everyone!
1) The problem: Spending a fortune on train fares
If you’re taking the train on a regular basis (in my case to go hiking in the counties around London) you probably spend quite some money on train fares and have already wondered if there is any way to reduce the costs.
Let’s say I take the train twice a month down to Surrey, to the coast, to the Chilterns or wherever, but close to London and pay £20 for each of my return tickets. That makes it £480 per year only for train fares and leaves very little pocket money for the mandatory cake at the end of each walk.
2) Half of the solution: National Railcards
Thank God there is National Rail offering different types of railcards. You probably have seen wall papers on the train stations advertising different types of railcards: for the 16-25 year olds, for 60+, for the disabled ones, for couples or the family & friends railcard if you travel with children.
Well, what if you don’t fall in any of these groups which applies probably to half of us. There is railcard even for you, National Rail just doesn’t advertise it: the Network Railcard.
3) The full solution for Londoners: The Network Railcard
The Network Railcard is available for everyone above the age of 16, costs £30 a year and gives you 1/3 off the ticket price on weekends and after 10am during week. You can take up to 3 adults on that card who also get 1/3 off and up to 4 children who get 60% off. The limitation is that it’s only valid for a defined network around London (main parts of Southeast England) and not across the country. There is also a minimum fare of £13 from Monday to Friday, but in my experience it’s still cheaper than any other return ticket and if you would pay less without the Railcard the ticket machine would tell you.
Have you experience with the Network Railcard or Railcards in general? Are you happy with them? Do you know any tricks to use them?