New Railcard app as train companies make it quicker and easier to save 1/3 on fares

A new app is set to make it quicker and easier for rail passengers to save money on fares.

For the first time customers will be able to buy and store Railcards on smartphones, starting with the 16-25 Railcard – the first-ever, born in 1974 as the Student Railcard – and the Network Railcard this summer.

The digital Railcard - designed in consultation with customers and rail staff - is the latest example of train companies working together using technology to make journeys better including mobile friendly e-tickets.

Railcards have come a long way, making the journey from paper to smartphone with more than four million in use today – including 1.6million 16-25 Railcards helping young people visit friends and get home from university for the holidays just as they have for more than 40 years. Since April 1991, 21million 16-25 Railcards have been sold.

Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group - which brings train companies together to improve the railway - said:

“Railcards have joined the digital age just like the new generation of young people using the iconic card which started it all, helping to connect the country. Railcards save customers cash so they can take more train trips and have more to spend where they go, supporting local communities - and we’re making them easier to buy.”

As well as saving customers a third off most rail fares, the new app will make the problem of forgotten Railcards a thing of the past. In most cases customers will be able to add digital Railcards to their smartphones instantly instead of having to wait for a card to arrive in the post.  Customers who lose their ‘phones or run out of battery can swap a digital Railcard to another mobile device quickly and easily.

The full range of national Railcards, offered by train companies and managed by National Rail, will be available by the end of this autumn for new and renewing customers to download.

In another move to benefit customers, a rule change by all train companies means that a customer who fails to show a Railcard and is asked to pay extra will be guaranteed a refund on at least the first occasion in any year provided they can produce the Railcard later.


Notes to editors

History of Railcards:

  • 1974    Student Railcard (now 16-25 Railcard)
  • 1975    Senior Citizens Railcard in 1975 (now Senior Railcard)
  • 1979    Family Railcard (now Friends & Family Railcard)
  • 1982    Disabled Persons Railcard
  • 2014    Two Together Railcard

Only national Railcards and the Network Railcard will be available on the new app. Local Railcards and other concessionary discount cards will not be available.

A digital Railcard will cost the same as a paper or plastic Railcard. Customers can choose to have their Railcard on their smartphone, posted to them or to buy a Railcard at their local station.


Contact Information

Rail Delivery Group Media Team