Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequently asked questions

Can I buy a Railcard at a rail station?

A: Yes. You can buy a 1-year Railcard over the counter at all staffed National Rail stations.

If you do this you can use your passsport, UK driving licence, birth certificate or National Identity card (for non-UK nationals) as proof of your date of birth

Can I continue to use my Railcard if I have my 26th birthday before it expires?

A: Yes. You can buy or renew your 1-year 16-25 Railcard up to and including the day before your 26th birthday and keep using it until its expiry date. With 3-year 16-25 Railcards you can buy them up until the day before your 24th birthday, which will make the expiry date the day before your 27th birthday.

Can I use my 16-25 Railcard at any time of day?

A: Yes you can. However, for all journeys made between 4.30am and 10am Monday to Friday a minimum fare of £12 is payable. There is no minimum fare when you travel at weekends, on Public Holidays, or during July and August.

If you travel regularly before 10 am, then a weekly or monthly season ticket may be more appropriate, though you won’t be able to get a Railcard discount.

Can I use my Railcard for tickets for travel on the London Underground?

A: With your Railcard you can get 1/3 off a London Zones 1-6 Off-Peak Day Travelcard (subject to a minimum fare which is currently £8.30) and an Anytime Day Travelcard when bought as part of your journey to London from outside London Zones 1-9 (subject to a minimum fare which is currently £18.10).
With an Oyster card, you can get your Railcard discount loaded onto your Oyster card to save 1/3 on single off-peak pay as you go fares on London Underground and Docklands Light Railway services in London. You will need to have registered your Oyster in your name to do this. Simply take your Oyster card and valid Railcard to a London Underground station and ask a member of staff to set the discount for you. You can also get the discount set at Oyster Ticket Shops and Visitor Centres.

How long do I have to wait for my Railcard to arrive?

If you are buying your Railcard online we will despatch it within one working day, and send it free by First Class post. Please allow FIVE working days for your Railcard to arrive.

You have the option of paying £6.50 for our Special Delivery service. Providing you have placed your order before 1600hrs this will guarantee that your Railcard is delivered within two days (Monday to Thursday) or three days (Friday to Sunday).

You will not be able to collect your Railcard from a rail station. We add an extra week’s validity to your Railcard to allow for delivery time.

You cannot travel on discounted tickets until you have received your Railcard. You cannot use your printed out confirmation of sale to get discount. The Railcard is the only proof of entitlement to discount that rail staff are able to accept.

I am over 25 years old and in full time education – can I apply for a Railcard?

A: Yes. We define full-time study as attending college or University (in the United Kingdom) for 15 hours or more a week for at least 20 weeks a year.

You can apply at a rail station or via the 16-25 Railcard website which can be found at To apply online you will need to complete the mature student application form including the "Mature Students Only" section and ensuring that it has been signed by either your tutor, head tutor, head of department or University/Collage administration staff member. Please note that students on home study and distance learning courses are not eligible.
If you are applying at a rail station please pick up a 16-25 Railcard leaflet and complete the mature student application section

You will also need to provide either a NUS card or a College/University photo-id card to confirm that you are in the current academic year of study.

If you are now 26 years old and have an expiring Railcard that was bought online, you will not be able to renew this Railcard. Because of limits to our current system you will need to register a new account using a different email address.

This information must either be shown at a station or scanned in and uploaded if you apply online.

What do I do if my Railcard is lost or damaged?

A: If you bought your Railcard online, you will need to get a replacement online. You can only apply for a replacement Railcard seven or more days after the date of original purchase.

You will have to pay a £10 administration fee if your Railcard was lost or damaged.

To apply for a replacement Railcard, please login to your "My Railcard" account, select "View my Railcards" and follow the instructions on screen.

If you bought it elsewhere, provided you can produce the completed "Receipt" portion of your original application form, then you can apply for your lost or damaged Railcard to be replaced at any staffed station ticket office. You will have to pay a £10 administration fee.

Until you have your replacement Railcard, we’re sorry but you will have to pay the full fare. The lost discount is not refundable. 

What is an acceptable image to use for my Railcard photograph?

A: The image should be a good recognisable likeness of you.

We prefer colour pictures but black and white images are acceptable. Your head and shoulders should be in close-up, with your face clearly visible and filling approximately 70% of the frame (in the same way it would for a passport or driving licence). The image must be in sharp focus.

Please make sure that your face is not obscured by hats or hair.

The file of your photo must be either a .jpg, .bmp, or a .gif and must not exceed 2Mb. with a resolution of at least 300dpi .We will reject photos if they are not appropriate and ask you for a more suitable image. 

Will I have to pay the full fare if I forget to bring my Railcard when I travel?

A: Yes. You must show your valid Railcard and Photocard when you buy your ticket. You also need to have your Railcard and Photocard with you on each journey and present it to staff when your ticket is checked aboard the train.

Failure to present both your Railcard and Photocard will mean you have to pay a full fare, which is not refundable.