In terms of comfort, availability and ease of access, train travel remains one of the best forms of public transport.

It is particularly popular with seniors and the disabled, because of the accessibility options that most train stations and carriages now provide.As governments have encouraged more people to use trains for public transport over the years, they have improved those accessibility options.  Governments have also provided discounts for specific rail users who may depend on public transport for financial reasons or because they are physically impaired.

Two of those discount cards are:

Senior Railcard — which gives seniors access to rail travel discounts.
Disabled Person Railcard — which gives train travel discounts to people with disabilities

This article will walk you through the process of applying for these discount cards.

Benefits and Restrictions of the Senior Railcard

The Senior Railcard is available for any UK citizen who is over the age of 60.  It costs £30 per year.

The benefits of the card include:

  • 1/3 off Standard and First Class Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance fares.
  • Various discounts with Senior Railcard partners including museums, theatres, sightseeing companies, and hotels

It is important to understand that the card is not valid when travelling between two stations inside London and the South East area during morning peak time. You also cannot use the card to obtain a discount on Eurostar tickets, season tickets, some train companies already offering discounts, tickets for charter trains and most London underground and docklandslight railway tickets.

Seniors can also purchase a 3-year railcard for £70, an additional saving of £20 compared to buying annual cards!

Using the Senior Railcard

To use the card, you simply present it to the station ticket officer when purchasing your ticket.  You should always carry your senior railcard with you while traveling and present them to ticket inspectors if asked.

How to Get a Senior Railcard

There are three ways you can obtain a Senior Railcard: online, at a station ticket office or by phone.

Buying a Senior Railcard Online

To buy a Senior Railcard online, you will need a valid passport or a UK driving license.  You will also need a valid debit card or credit card.  Simply visit the Senior Railcard Website to begin to process!  Your card will then be sent to you via the mail within 5 days.

Buying a Senior Railcard at a Station Ticket Office

You can buy a Senior Railcard at any staffed station ticket office or National Rail-licensed Travel Agent.  You can either fill in the application form at the ticket office or you can download the form here and pre-fill it.

You will need to bring one form of identification to prove your identity and age — a birth certificate, passport or a UK driving license is ideal.

You can then register the card online if you wish to renew it via the website at a later date.

Buying a Senior Railcard via the Phone

You can also receive a Senior Railcard by the telephone.  Simple call 0345 3000 250 (07:00-22:00 every day, except Christmas Day. Calls are charged at the national rate).

Disabled Persons Railcard Benefits

Similar to the Senior Railcard, the Disabled Persons Railcard offers 1/3 off rail travel.   There are two key differences compared to the seniors card:

  • The disabled persons card only costs £20 annually
  • There are stricter eligibility guidelines which differ depending on a person’s disability

The Disabled Persons Railcard is used in a similar fashion to the Senior Railcard.  A disabled person simply presents the card when ordering their train ticket. Determining eligibility is much more complex with a Disabled Persons Railcard.  The card is available for anyone who:

Receives the Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

You will need to supply a copy of your award letter to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, or the higher or middle rate for the care component

You will need to supply a copy of your award letter to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Has a visual impairment

You will need to provide a copy of your Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI), BP1 Certificate (Scotland) or BD8 Certificate for being registered blind or partially-sighted.

Has a hearing impairment

Present a copy of your award letter to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Has epilepsy and has repeated attacks despite medication OR is prohibited from driving because of epilepsy

A copy of your Exemption Certificate for epilepsy medication and a photocopy of your prescription for drugs in line with the National Society for Epilepsy guidelines OR a photocopy of your letter from the DVLA telling you that you are unable to drive is required

Receives Attendance Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance

Present a copy of your award letter to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Receives War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement

Present a copy of your award letter to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Receives War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more disability

Present a copy of your award letter to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Buys or lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme

Present a recent copy of your leasing or hire-purchase agreement to obtain your Disabled Persons Railcard

Services for People with Impaired Mobility

In addition to discounted travel for seniors and the disabled, there is help available at railway stations for people with physical impairments. Most railway stations have staff who can assist anyone with mobility issues, as they board or exit trains. To obtain assistance, contact the station in advance of making your trip.

Some railway stations also have scooters to help people with mobility issues navigate the train station.  It is important to understand that only some stations have staff on hand to help you and you should make a booking in advance of your trip if you require assistance.

Information written by the people at Northern Rail, connecting tens of thousands of people to work, leisure, education and more every day in the North of England.