Senior Railcard

Can you buy Senior Railcards at any London Train Station?

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Any network rail station, but not Underground stations. Also note what it says on the Senior Railcard website: You can also buy a Railcard at Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport rail stations, Luton Airport Parkway and Manchester Airport – but NOT at London Heathrow Airport

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8731 posts

Any staffed national rail station, during its opening hours, at times that passes may be sold. I only put this caveat in because there is a chance that you may be intending to try to buy your Senior Railcard at a smaller station. Many smaller stations have been subject to a station closing and hours reducing program over the last few years and many are unstaffed except at peak hours or mornings. Smaller stations are also likely to have a policy of not selling railcards at busy peak periods when they have a queue out the door of commuters buying tickets for the day and running for the train. On the other hand, the big main line terminus stations have booking offices open from early until quite late and are happy to sell railcards throughout the day. You shouldn't have any problems at stations such as Paddington, Euston, Marylebone, Victoria, Waterloo, Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, and St Pancras, etc.

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

I'm curious ... how old must you be to qualify as a Senior in the UK?
(Many places in the US, 55 qualifies you for a Senior Discount.)

Posted by Katy
London, UK
130 posts

There are others more expert on this than me who I'm sure will chime in. But you don't have to be British to obtain a senior railcard. Its available for trains on all regions - when you go to the online websites to buy your tickets there will be a box to check which asks if you have a railcard. There are some limitations on use, eg some commuter trains before 9.30 am. As you are travelling later this month I would book now if you can as the later you leave it the more expensive the tickets.
Also I think I'm right that you can buy your tickets now and check the senior railcard box, even though you don't have one yet - you would just need to be sure you bought the railcard before you travelled.

Posted by Katy
London, UK
130 posts

To qualify for the senior railcard its 60. However to qualify for other "senior" discounts in the UK it can vary - eg for some discounts its State Pension Age, which is currently about 61 yrs 6 months for women and 65 for men - both rising to 66 years by the end of this decade.

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

Thanks, Katy. We are 60 so I think we qualify. I found this link Senior Railcard but I have a few questions. * Is this available to non-British tourists? * Are the Senior Railcard discounts available throughout the UK (or are there different competing rail systems with different rules and privileges? During our vacation (starting July 25) we plan to travel by train London>Bath>London, then London>York, York>Edinburgh and Edinburgh>London. - I found this page from Rick: BritRail Passes. It's very detailed, but I'm sure there are many answers there.

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

For non-British visitors, I saw a pop-up message on the RailCard website that we can buy the Senior RailCard online ONLY if we have a UK address that it can be delivered to. (Fortunately I do have one, a relative in London.) A few hours ago I was leaning toward purchasing the BritRail FlexiPass (Senior 1st Class) described on Rick's link for 619/person for 8 non-consecutive days instead. But having read your thoughts about probably being able to book specific tickets at Senior RailCard rate before actually receiving the card, I think buying the Senior RailCard is the best plan.

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1629 posts

Just to clarify matters. The Senior Railcard can be purchased by non UK citizens/residents in person when you arrive in the UK, see Nigel's post above. So no need to worry about the lack of a UK address. Just make sure you do so before you make your first train journey using any tickets purchased in advance at the Senior Railcard price.

Posted by Maggie
Boscombe, Dorset, UK
960 posts

As a senior railcard holder myself, with the renewal form in front of me- yes, you can buy it even if you're not resident in the UK.
And yes, buy your tickets with the card discount before you have the card, just make sure you have the card before you travel.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8731 posts

It will all come down to numbers and if the hassle is worth the savings to your pocket-book. Each Senior needs their own Railcard. Each costs £30 for a 12 month year. The benefit is one third off most fares on most routes. So the smaller the ticket the smaller the savings. Once each railcard holder has bought about £100 worth of tickets in a year you start to save money. With the routes to Bath and Edinburgh and others you should break even or put some in the back pocket... You will need to run the numbers. The further in advance you get your Advance Tickets with the Senior Railcard the lower the prices will be.

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

I think it will easily pay for itself because of Edinburgh and York. But I have just spent 90 minutes trying to purchase railcards. The purchase fails when I get to payment. It will not accept my Visa card's US billing address, even though that is one of dozens of country choices on the drop-down menu. Good thing: they save your online application and all the data entered!
(If they don't answer my inquiry about that, perhaps I can get my son who lives in London to log in and pay.)

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

Another related question: What is the difference between First Class and Standard?
Would First Class be wise on trips where we are carrying suitcases?

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
769 posts

First Class will usually (but not always) mean a bigger seat at least - say a 2-1 formation instead of a 2-2 across the isle. Depending on time or route/operator you may get 'free' drinks, snacks or a meal at your seat. Likely outside peak time to be less crowded than standard. Lounges at some stations. Service might be fewer frills at the weekend. Who uses First? Not quite dominated so much by public servants and business types any more; increasingly it is people booking a leisure trip in advance, when the fares can be very reasonable. All apart from at commuting time of course. Links to East Coast advertising material about their First Class facilities to help you make up your mind whether the extra cost is worth it to Edinburgh and York and First Great Western for Bath.

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

Thanks, Marco.
I decided 1st class might be worth it on the longer Edinburgh-London train, especially when I noticed one particular train where 1st was only 5L more. And it includes free wi-fi. We'll see about the others.

Posted by Nancy
Santa Maria, California, USA
31 posts

I have now booked trips London to York, York to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to London, and RT London to Bath, at the Senior RailCard rate and I am very impressed at how much money it saved! At least 1/3 and often much more. I still haven't managed to buy the railcard online. To do so, you need both a UK delivery address (which I have) AND your billing address must be in the UK. I was initially panicked about buying it first, but now I'm comfortable just waiting until we arrive.
After you buy tickets at the Senior RailCard rate, they just remind you that you must have the railcard on you when you travel. I'm so glad I read this topic and found out about it!