New Railcard trial will mean reduced peak-time travel for 16-18 year olds

Part of the railway’s plan to boost local communities by spreading opportunity and enabling more young people to travel by train

  • Follows on from the trial of the 26-30 year old railcard which begins in Greater Anglia next week
  • Young people in the trial areas will get cheaper peak-time travel until at least their 18th birthday, helping them in the first year of post-16 education
  • If the trial is successful the new discount will be rolled out nationwide, benefiting at least 1.5 million young people

Train companies are to trial a new railcard for 16-18 year olds, potentially saving at least 1.5 million young people a minimum of 34% on peak-time tickets to school, college, and training places.

The move builds on the rail industry's trial of a new 26-30 year old railcard and a wider roll out of the discount announced by government last week and is a further part of the rail industry's long-term plan to change and improve services, published in October. The government also said in its rail strategy, published this week, that it would ensure those aged 16 to 30 can access appropriate concessions.

As part of the industry’s plan, rail companies have committed to working together to boost local communities by enabling more people to take advantage of the opportunities travelling by train opens up. Reducing the cost of travel will enable young people to cast their net wider as they look for education, training and jobs.

Under the plans, revealed today by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), young people in the trial will be able to buy a digital app-based railcard that will be valid until at least their 18th birthday and get a third off adult rail fares on peak-time trains to and from classes. The pass will also be valid on off-peak services.

A trial will begin in Spring 2018 and if successful, there will be a nationwide roll out by September 2018.

Old rules governing child rail fares, laid down more than 40 years ago, no longer reflect the school leaving age with young people today expected to stay in education or training until they are 18. The card will be a significant boost to young people in at least the first year of post-16 education.

The card is different from the 16-25 railcard because it can be used in peak travel time. The precise terms of the railcard will be reviewed in light of the trial.

Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience at the RDG, which brings together train operators, Network Rail and the rail supply chain to enable a better railway, said:

"The railway has the potential to help young people across the country to cast their net wider for new opportunities in education, work and training and train companies, working together, are making it happen. Our plan to improve the railway will help young people get on in life by letting them travel further and more frequently at lower cost."

The initiative revealed today is the latest in a series of announcements this year by rail companies aimed at making fares simpler and cheaper, including the 26-30 railcard pilot and trials on certain long-distance routes to simplify the range of fares. In addition, many operators are now making cheaper advance fares available on the day of purchase and making discount railcards easier to buy and use with new digital, app-based versions.

More than four million existing railcard customers save almost £600 million a year – £150 each on average – on train trips. For more information about the full range of railcards available go to


Notes to editors

  1. According to ONS census data, there are 1.5 million people aged 16 and 17 years old in Great Britain who could benefit.
  2. The specific area where the new railcard will be trialed is to be confirmed. It is expected that the new railcard will be priced similarly to existing railcards.
  3. Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail.
A- A A+