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The new 26-30 Railcard - All you need to know

PUBLISHED: 07:30 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:45 31 October 2018

A Greater Anglia train at Ipswich Station. Where can you travel with a new 26-30 Railcard? Picture: NEIL PERRY

A Greater Anglia train at Ipswich Station. Where can you travel with a new 26-30 Railcard? Picture: NEIL PERRY

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The new 26-30 Railcard could save festival-goers money on train fares to Chelmsford’s RiZe Festival or a night out in Norwich.

Passengers in East Anglia were the first to try out the new Railcard, which was piloted by the Greater Anglia network from December 2017.

The trial was then extended nationally in March, and now rail bosses have announced the new cards will go on sale “before the end of the year”, although an exact date has not yet been announced.

How will you be able to get a 26-30 Railcard?

This is the first digital-only Railcard, meaning you don’t have to wait for a physical card to be delivered in the post, but can download it to a smartphone - and there’s also no danger of losing it!

Once it is launched, the new card will be available to buy online. You will be able to use it right away, and if you change or lose your phone it will be possible to transfer the ticket to a new device.

How much does the new card cost, and what can you save?

The price is £30 a year, and you can save a third on most off-peak rail fares across the country. You will also be able to get discounts on some peak fares.

Where can you travel with the discounts?

The new card will be nationwide, so you can use it anywhere across the country.

You can make big savings on travelling to London, perhaps for a shopping spree at Westfield Stratford City, to see a show, try the big city’s nightclubs or spend a weekend away.

For instance, if you buy an Off-Peak Return ticket from Ipswich to London, returning within one month, it would usually cost £42.20. Once you add a railcard, though, the price would come down to £27.85.

For an Off-Peak Return from Colchester to London, again returning within one month, the normal price would be £33.50, but using a 26-30 Railcard would bring this down to £22.10.

There’s also plenty of scope to take advantage of discounts within East Anglia, from a night out in Norwich to a trip to the beach in Frinton.

If you’re a music fan, are you thinking of going to next year’s RiZE Festival (the replacement for V)? It is taking place on August 17-18 at Hylands Park, Chelmsford, highlighted by Liam Gallagher and the Sterophonics.

On current prices, travelling from Ipswich to Chelmsford on an Off-Peak Return ticket, returning within one month, would cost £23.10. With a Railcard, the price would come down to £15.25. However, there is due to be another round of rail fare increases in January, so the actual prices will be slightly higher.

When can’t you use the card?

Rail fares are notoriously complicated, and the rules on using railcards are no exception!

One exclusion to be aware of is that there is a minimum fare of £12 on journeys made between 4.30am and 10am from Monday to Friday. This means if you are making a journey which costs under £12 you can’t get the saving, and also the saving can’t bring your fare below £12. However, this doesn’t apply at the weekend or on Bank Holidays.

Railcard discounts also don’t apply to first-class and season tickets, travel on Eurostar and some other types of journey. Also, be aware that other promotional offers are likely to be cheaper for some journeys.

If you’re not sure whether to use the railcard, you can always look at the price for a specific journey with and without the railcard on the Greater Anglia website, and compare any other discounts.

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