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Frequently Asked Questions

If you're new to Railsmartr or looking for answers to your questions, this guide will help you learn more about our services and their features.

Discounts and railcards

Yes, you can use a Railcard with split tickets. After all, they're just a combination of the same single and return tickets that you'd otherwise buy! There are a couple of things to bear in mind, though. For one, the restrictions that apply to your Railcard will apply to every ticket that you buy. For example, if there's a minimum fare or if the Railcard isn't valid before a particular time. In some cases, you might find this to be quite useful! If your Railcard isn't valid before 09:30, and you want to travel at 09:00, then you can buy a shorter, undiscounted ticket, then have a discount apply to the rest of your journey. Secondly, if your Railcard is only valid when there is a group of you (such as a Two Together Railcard) then you'll need to stick together for the whole journey when you're using a Railcard with split tickets. The same applies if you're using Groupsave tickets. We've written more about Railcards and how you can know which restrictions apply to them in our dedicated guide. Looking to know more about split tickets? We've written more about them, too.  
Got a Railcard? Great! We accept the following different Railcards to buy train tickets on Railsmartr:
  • 16-17 Saver
  • 16-25 Railcard
  • 26-30 Railcard
  • Annual Gold Card
  • Disabled Persons Railcard
  • Family & Friends Railcard
  • HM Forces Railcard
  • Job Centre Plus Railcard
  • Network Railcard
  • Senior Railcard
  • Two Together Railcard.
Do you hold one of the following local Railcards? Watch this space! We'll soon be adding them to the site, so you can save on your journeys with Railsmartr. 
  • Cambrian
  • Cotswold Line
  • Dales
  • Devon & Cornwall
  • Esk Valley
  • Thameslink and Great Northern Student 16/18 Connect
  • Heart of Wales
  • Highland
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Valleys
Click here to find out more information on the discounts that you can get with with different Railcards, and to find out more information on the best Railcard to suit you. 

How much discount does a Railcard give?

How much discount does a Railcard give? That's a great question. You can save up to 1/3 off the cost of your tickets with a Railcard. Two Railcards (the 16-17 Saver and the Job Centre Plus) give 50% off.

Your guide to Railcards

We know that navigating Railcard restrictions can be tricky, so we've produced this handy guide to help you choose the right one for you. Simply click the railcard name to find out more information. 

Railcard Discount Things to Remember
16-17 Saver 50% Not valid on ScotRail, Caledonian Sleeper or in First Class.
16-25 33% £12 minimum fare applies Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays, during July & August and on Advance tickets). Not valid on First Class fares except First Class Advance tickets.
26-30 33% £12 minimum fare applies Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays and on Advance tickets). Not valid on First Class fares except First Class Advance tickets or on tickets routed 'Caledonian Sleeper only'.
Annual Gold Card 33% Requires purchase of a valid season ticket. Valid only within Gold Card area, not valid before 09:30 Monday to Friday. 
Network Railcard 33% Valid only within Network Railcard area. Not valid before 10am Monday to Friday. £13 minimum fare also applies Monday to Fridays (except Bank Holidays). Minimum fare of £19.60 on Anytime Day Travelcards applies at all times. 
Disabled Persons Railcard 33% No time restrictions. Discount also applies to one passenger accompanying the card holder. 
HM Forces Railcard 33% (60% for children) Leisure travel only. Cannot be purchased at stations or online. 
Veterans Railcard 33% £12 minimum fare applies Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays, during July & August and on Advance tickets). 
Job Centre Plus Railcard 50% Valid only on Anytime, Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets, as well as Season Tickets for up to three months.
Senior Railcard 33% Not valid for journeys wholly within the Network Railcard area during the morning peak. Exceptions apply. 
Two Together Railcard 33% Not valid before 09:30 Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays). 
Family & Friends Railcard 33% (60% for children) Not valid for journeys wholly within the Network Railcard area during the morning peak. Exceptions apply. Not valid in First Class.

How do I know if I'm getting a Railcard discount?

As you can see in our guide, some Railcards have a minimum fare or aren't valid at all before a certain time on weekdays. Don't worry, our site will always make it clear what kind of discount you're receiving on your ticket. 

When you're searching for the services you'd like to travel on, simply click on the one you'd like followed by the 'i' symbol (highlighted in yellow):

Step 1 of showing a customer 'how much discount does a railcard give'

This will bring up a full list of information about your ticket. Look for the section that says 'Passengers' which tells you how much the ticket costs and if a Railcard has been added (highlighted in yellow). If your ticket would be cheaper without any discount, compared to a minimum fare applied to your Railcard, then we'll charge you the cheaper undiscounted fare. 

Step 2 of showing a customer 'how much discount does a railcard give' with info table

Got more questions about using Railcards with Railsmartr? Click here

We don’t (yet) sell Railcards online at Railsmartr. You can get most from your local station, though some are now only available online. For information about how to buy most Railcards, please visit the Railcard website.

Yes, you can get a discount if you don't have a Railcard. There are some great discounts to be had if you’re travelling as a group and will be together for the whole journey. We’ve got them all covered in Railsmartr.

Discounts without Railcards
  • You can find discounts for just two people travelling on many Northern routes, as well as Gatwick Express and Stansted Express. This usually means 1/2 off for the second adult.
  • GroupSave discounts offer 1/3 off for three or more people travelling together. You'll find these with most train operators servicing South East England. They're also available with GWR which serves Devon, Cornwall and South Wales. There are lots of cities and top destinations in the GroupSave area – including trains to Bedford, Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Exeter, London, Oxford and Reading. If you're travelling to the South Coast you'll also find GroupSave discounts on trains to Brighton, Bournemouth, Dover, Portsmouth and Southampton. Some GroupSave discounts are also available between London and Birmingham, provided you travel with Chiltern Railways or West Midlands Trains. Unfortunately, the discounts don't apply on Avanti West Coast.
  • Some group discounts on East Midlands Railway and ScotRail, as well as family tickets on Avanti West Coast and LNER.

    Wherever there’s a group discount, we’ve got it covered. You can find out more about Group Tickets  here.

  • Yes, it is possible to get an accompanied child discount on some rail tickets. Some train operators have great value flat fares for children accompanying adults, and they can be as low as £1 for a return ticket! They can also include a London Travelcard.

    Which companies offer an accompanied child discount?

    You can buy tickets with an accompanied child discount at Railsmartr for the following companies: 

    • c2c
    • Chiltern Railways
    • Govia Thameslink Railway (Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink)
    • Southeastern. 

    We've got them all covered and they will automatically appear as options if you're travelling on the right journey and with the right combination of passengers.

    How do I know if I'm getting an accompanied child discount?

    That's easy! Here at Railsmartr, we'll always offer you the cheapest fare for your journey. So, by default, we'll offer the discounted tickets if they're the cheapest option. 

    You should also remember that these discounts are normally only available outside of peak times. So, you'll only be able to get them on Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets. When you book on Railsmartr, there are two ways that you can tell if you're buying tickets with an accompanied child discount. 

    Sometimes, the fare itself will have a special name, so you'll be able to see it when you buy. Just click on the price of the ticket, and you'll see the name: 

    accompanied child discount showing on railsmartr site

    In this case, it shows as 'Kids for a Quid'. When you get to the final stage of your purchase, we'll also break down the cost for you: 

    railsmartr site showing accompanied child discount cost at end of purchase process

    Just remember that you all have to travel together as a group. Children can't travel unaccompanied for a pound! If they become separated from the group, then an undiscounted fare will need to be paid. A Penalty Fare could also be charged on some services. 

    Is using multiple Railcards in the same booking allowed?

    Yes, you can use up to three different Railcards in the same booking, as long as there are enough passengers in the group. We'll do all the hard work for you to find the best discount available.

    Railsmartr will automatically use the Railcards offering the best discount, if you have provided more than one Railcard. For example, if there are two adults and two children travelling together, and you have selected one Family & Friends Railcard, one Senior Railcard, and one 16-25 Railcard, Railsmartr will use just the Family & Friends Railcard if that gives you the cheapest option.

    How do I add multiple Railcard discounts?

    Using multiple Railcards is easy! Let our step-by-step guide show you how: 

    1. Select how many people are travelling 

    Head to the Railsmartr website and pop in your journey details. If you're going to be using multiple Railcards, you need to enter the number of passengers travelling, first. 

    Image shows selecting multiple adults on Railsmartr website

    2. Add your first Railcard

    Next, head down to the section that says 'Railcards' and select your first Railcard. If several of your travelling companions are using the same type of Railcard, you can choose multiple of the same type. 

    Image shows using multiple railcards on Railsmartr website by selecting a railcard

    3. Add another Railcard

    When you've added your first type of Railcard, click 'Add another railcard' and repeat the process until you've added all of the Railcards. 

    Image shows using multiple railcards on Railsmartr website

    4. Get searching!

    You're done! Press 'Done' and get searching. We'll calculate the best fare for your journey. 

    Want to know more about Railcards? Check out our handy guide to all of the different types, which answers the all-important question of 'How much discount does a Railcard give?

    You could also take a look at the official Railcard website. 

    Many people ask the question: 'Do you need a Railcard for Groupsave?' and we're pleased to tell you that the answer is no! There's no need to have any sort of Railcard or other proof of entitlement to buy a Groupsave ticket. Just make sure that you always travel together in a group of three or more. 

    The same applies with any similar discounts such as the Stansted Express group discount. Just stick together and save together! 

    We've produced a handy guide for Groupsave tickets, too. Simply click here to find out more about where they're available and how to buy them. 

    If you're travelling together as two people, then you won't be able to benefit from Groupsave. However, you could benefit from a Two-Together Railcard. Click here to find out more with our guide to Railcards. 

    You can also visit the National Rail website to find out more about Groupsave. Now that we've answered your question of 'do you need a Railcard for Groupsave?' you could also jump straight in and book your Groupsave tickets with Railsmartr

    So, you've bought a Railcard, but there aren't any discounts showing! This can be frustrating, but there are some good reasons as to why no Railcard discount might be offered. 

    Why is no Railcard discount showing for my ticket?

    The simple answer is that not every Railcard is valid all of the time. Some of them are only valid in some parts of the country and others are only accepted at certain times of day. 

    If you're travelling in First Class, then you might only be able to buy certain kinds of ticket. 16-25 and 26-30 Railcards are only valid for First Class Advance tickets, for example. If you have a 16-17 Saver, then it isn't valid for any kind of First Class ticket. 

    Do you have a Network Railcard? No Railcard discount will show if you're trying to buy an Advance ticket. It's only valid for travel with flexible train tickets. 

    There are some other reasons as to why no Railcard discount might show on the Railsmartr website. We'd recommend taking a look at our dedicated Guide to Railcards, where we'll take you through that everything you need to know. 

    Why is the fare not what I expected?

    Some Railcards will have a minimum fare. For example, 16-2526-30 and Veterans Railcards have a £12 minimum fare on tickets for travel before 10am on weekdays. This is eased in July and August, though. If it's cheaper to sell you the £12 fare compared to the undiscounted one, then we'll do that. 

    If you have a Network Railcard, there's a £13 minimum fare all day on weekdays. 

    How do I know if I'm getting a Railcard discount?

    When you buy your tickets with Railsmartr, there's no danger of accidentally getting no Railcard discount. When you get to the final page of the booking, we'll give you a summary of what you're buying, on the right-hand side. 

    railsmartr website showing railcard discount being applied

    If you see a code in brackets, like YNG, then we've applied a discount. If it just says 'Adult' or 'Child' without anything else, then there's no Railcard discount. 

    Got any further questions? You can contact us or take a look at our guide to booking tickets. Remember, we'll never charge you a booking fee or refund admin fee on your tickets. 

    If you've ended up with a forgotten Railcard, then don't panic. There are some things that you can do to remedy the situation. 

    What should I do if I've forgotten a Railcard?

    If you're on the train and you've realised you've forgotten a Railcard, then you should find a member of staff if you can. There's no obligation to do this, but it may give you a more favourable outcome. 

    You might be charged for a new full-priced ticket or issued a Penalty Fare. If this happens, remain calm and give the correct details.

    Remember, a Penalty Fare is designed for 'honest mistakes'. If it was suspected that you were intending to do wrong, then more serious action would have been taken. 

    Once you find your Railcard, get in touch with the rail operator. Explain that you've forgotten your Railcard, and that you were charged for a new ticket. Once every calendar year, they will refund any new tickets and cancel the Penalty Fare. If you do this more than once per year, the new tickets and/or Penalty Fare will still stand. 

    Is there anything else I can do?

    It's now possible to get your Railcard on your phone. For example, there's a dedicated Railcard app. If you think that this would be more useful (and less difficult to lose), then it's certainly an option. 

    If there's a while until your journey, and you've lost your Railcard, then the best option would be to order a replacement. 

    You can do this through the place where you bought your Railcard, such as on the official Railcard website. 

    Don't forget that you can either change or refund your ticket free of charge (depending on the ticket type) when you book with Railsmartr. So, you can push your trip back a different date if a forgotten Railcard threatens to derail it. 

    Your Railcard discount is less than ⅓ off because, for some railcards, there’s a minimum fare that applies at certain times of the day. and that might be the reason. For example, the 16-25 Railcard has a minimum fare of £12.00 on journeys starting between 04.30 and 10.00 on Mondays to Fridays.  This minimum fare does not apply on public holidays, at weekends and during July and August.