Did you know a Railcard can be bought and downloaded immediately?

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I had to book some Gatwick Express tickets last night and realised it made sense to get a new Friends & Family Railcard.  We would recover the cost in one trip and would then have it for the next 12 months for, effectively, free.

If you are planning to take your kids on a train trip during half term, it is worth noting that Friends & Family Railcards can now be bought and downloaded instantly as can most other Railcards.

This was a lifesaver last night, as I could download the Railcard and then immediately book my Gatwick Express tickets for use today.

During the purchase process on the Friends & Family Railcard website you have the option of selecting a Plastic or Digital railcard.  If you choose Digital, you are emailed a code after purchase which you type into the Railcard app on your phone.  The Railcard can be added to two phones if necessary.

Railcards now available for immediate digital download

This allows you to buy a Railcard and buy discounted tickets immediately without having to wait five days for a Plastic card to arrive.

As a reminder, a Friends & Family Railcard gets you 33% off Standard Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance adult fares and 60% off for kids’ fares.  Restrictions apply on times of travel and which trains are included.

First Class travel is not included.  Gatwick Express, Stansted Express and Heathrow Express services ARE included.

The Friends & Family Railcard website here has more details.

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  1. Matthew Goode says:

    Don’t forget you can also use £10 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers to cover the £30 cost of the railcard.

  2. There’s no requirement to have a railcard to book, you just need a valid one when you travel. Handy if your existing card has expired and your next trip isn’t for a while but you want to book a discounted ticket whilst they have seats (my parents did this for their Senior Railcard)

  3. If alas you have neither family nor friends, but do have a hearing aid prescription, you can buy a disabled railcard. If you generally travel with a companion, you only need one card. Also if you visit the nice customer support people on the tube (Liverpool Street being my favourite), they can link it to an Oyster card, but not a credit card. I don’t know what the specific benefits are other than that your oyster credit lasts longer.

  4. Has anyone tried to create an account and buy a Railcard online recently? I can’t even register for a new account. Tried the app and the website (on two different browsers) to no avail.

  5. Thank you Rob, I did not know. I dont use trains much but its good to know in those rare occasions.

  6. You can also buy a railcard on the day at the station by filling out a form and bringing a passport photo. Only annual ones though so you don’t get the multi-year discount.

    However, if you have an Annual Gold Card (from an annual season ticket in the London and South East commuter area, including annual Travelcards on Oyster), you can get most railcards for only £10.

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