MSE News

Tech error leaves train users unable to buy or renew railcards - here's what you need to know

Some train passengers have struggled for weeks to buy or renew railcards directly on the Railcard website. Railcard said it is working to resolve the technical issue, but here's what to try in the meantime. has spotted around 40 complaints on social media over the past two weeks, with four in the past 24 hours, from train users  who say they are unable to purchase or renew their railcard on the Railcard website. Many report an error message popping up when they try to checkout. 

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which manages the Railcard service, insists only a small number of people have been impacted by the tech issue and that it isn't a widespread problem.

Below we explain what to try if you need to urgently buy or renew a railcard. You can also see our Cheap Train Tickets guide for full help on cutting the cost of rail travel. 

'I've been trying to buy a new Railcard for the past hour'

Here are some of the complaints we've spotted on social media:

Here's what to do if you're struggling to buy or renew your railcard

If you've been unable to buy or renew your railcard, here's what to try:

  1. Install the latest version of the Railcard app and clear your browser. The RDG said customers experiencing problems may be able to resolve the issue by this if purchasing online.

  2. If this doesn't work, contact Railcard via alternative means. You can reach Railcard on social media or over the phone on 0345 3000 250 where a member of staff will be able to process your Railcard purchase or renewal.

  3. Can't get through? Some railcards can be purchased at staffed ticket offices. If you're after a one-year railcard, these are only available from ticket stations and can't be purchased online. There are exclusions though as the following railcards can only be purchased online, such as the 16-17 Railcard, the 26-30 Railcard and the Disabled Person's Railcard. 

  4. Railcard only available online or you can't get to a station? You may be able to buy from a third party website. Some railcards, detailed above, can only be purchased online. Three-year railcards – available for the 16-25, Senior, Family & Friends' and Disabled Person's Railcards – can also only be bought online, and these are better value then a one-year railcard if they're used for the full three years. You can also buy these, as well as certain other railcards, via train operator websites including AvantiEast Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway and LNER.                                                                                                                 

If you've paid for your railcard and haven't received it, or you want a refund on full-price train tickets you wouldn't have purchased had you been able to use a railcard, you can contact Railcard by phoning 0345 3000 250, emailing, or by getting in touch through Twitter or Facebook

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