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26-30 Railcard to be available nationwide by the end of the year

Train firms have promised the 26-30 Railcard will be available to buy nationwide by the end of the year.

The 26-30 Railcard, which is the first digital-only railcard, will be available to buy on the Railcard website and to download via the Railcard app on a smartphone.

It will cost £30 and will get holders a third off most rail fares across Great Britain – but an exact date for the full roll out is yet to be announced. 

MoneySavingExpert.com was the first to reveal in October last year that a 26-30 Railcard was due to be released

After an official announcement by the Chancellor in last year's Budget, the Railcard was piloted in the area served by Greater Anglia from December 2017, before a further trial in March offered 10,000 customers nationwide the chance to get one.

But many were left disappointed as phone lines and the Railcard website buckled due to the high demand.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents rail firms, has confirmed that by the end of the year the 26-30 Railcard will be available to everyone who is eligible to buy it, and that it is "here to stay".

For full tips and tricks on cutting the cost of train journeys, see our Cheap Train Tickets guide.

How does the Railcard work?

The 26-30 Railcard will cost £30 and will give you a third off most rail fares for one year – though a £12 minimum fare applies between 4.30am and 10am Monday to Friday.

You also get a discount on London travel – a third off off-peak fares and off-peak daily caps on Oyster cards.

You can buy the 26-30 Railcard up to the day before your 31st birthday and keep using it until its expiry date – so if you renew it at the right time, you can use it until just before you turn 32.

While it's generally marketed towards giving discounts on leisure tickets, it can also give hefty discounts for commuters too. See our Trick to use the 16-25 Railcard to save £100s on your commute MSE News story for more.

I'm part of the trial from December 2017 – can I renew?

If you already have a 26-30 Railcard as part of the trial that was launched in the Greater Anglia region last December, it will soon expire.

The RDG says you'll be contacted with information about getting a new Railcard today (26 October), but it has so far been unable to say if you'll be able to renew before it expires.

The Railcard is expected to save holders £125/year

The RDG says that those taking part in the trial took approximately six leisure journeys a month, covering an average of 400 miles.

It added that if this trend continues, holders will save themselves an average of £125 a year.

What does the Rail Delivery Group say?

RDG managing director Jacqueline Starr said: "Britain's rail companies are excited to announce that the National Rail 26-30 Railcard will be available across the country before the end of the year.

"It means more young people can explore Britain for less using our trains and benefit from saving a third on rail travel, making it cheaper to get out and enjoy the seaside or visit family and friends."