Those eagerly trying to buy the new 26-30 Railcard after its launch faced online queues that sometimes exceeded three hours - but was it worth the wait?
More than 125,000 people bought the 26-30 Railcard and saved more than £3.4 million on train tickets in the first month after launch, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). If this trend continues, card holders will save an average of £281 a year.
The new railcard costs £30 for one year (or £70 for three years), and can be bought by anyone aged between 26 and 30. Once you've bought it, you can use it to save a third on train tickets.
It joins an array of railcards for different groups of people, meaning you don't have to be a 20-something to benefit from cheaper train travel in 2019.
Keep reading to find out whether you could be eligible for one of them, and how quickly you might expect to make your money back.
Here's a run-through of the main railcards on offer:
|Railcard||Price||What you get||Who's eligible?|
|16-25||£30 for one year, or £70 for three years||1/3 off UK train tickets||Those aged 16-25, or over 26 and in full-time education|
|26-30||£30 for one year, or £70 for three years||1/3 off UK train tickets||Those aged 26-30|
|Two Together||£30 for one year||1/3 off UK train tickets for you and the other person named on the card when you're travelling together||Two people aged 16 or older|
|Family & Friends||£30 for one year, or £70 for three years||1/3 off UK train tickets for up to four adults and 60% off for up to four children aged between 5 and 15||Two adults can be named as cardholders. They don't need to travel together, but you need to be travelling with at least one child aged between 5 and 15 for a discounted fare|
|Senior||£30 for one year, or £70 for three years||1/3 off UK train tickets||Those aged 60 or older|
|Network||£30 for one year||1/3 off UK journeys within the 'Network Railcard area' - this spans 16 counties in the South East including London||Those aged 16 and above. You can take up to three adults with you and they'll also benefit from 1/3 off. Plus, you can take up to four children (aged 5 to 15) and save 60% on the child fare|
|Disabled Persons||£20 for one year||1/3 off UK train tickets||Those with a disability that makes travelling by train difficult. Visit disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk for more info |
Ultimately, whether you'll make your money back (and some extra savings) depends on the journeys you make, and how many.
Generally, though, if you're planning a few trips by train in the course of a year, the investment usually pays off.We've crunched the numbers on a few examples:
A new railcard specifically for those aged 16-17 was also announced on 2 January and will be launched later this year.
It will offer a 50% discount on rail travel (the same price as a child-rate ticket) and should be available from September, in line with a new academic year.
You can't buy all railcards in the same way, so here's how to get your hands on the type of card you're after.
If you plan on buying your railcard at a ticket office or by post, you'll need to take a completed application form with you, which you can download online and print.
Some, but not all, railcards require a passport-style photo which you can upload, send by email or bring with you, depending on how you're applying.
There are also a number of regional railcards on offer, typically slashing prices by a third, including:
Check the small print on when you can travel at a discounted rate, and with who.
Your railcard won't work on Eurostar services, for example, and you can't use it for season-ticket purchases either.
There are usually restrictions if you're travelling before 10am on Monday to Friday, too - Senior railcards aren't valid at all, while a minimum fare of £12 is payable if you hold a 16-25 or 26-30 card.
Other than buying a railcard, there are several other tricks to save money on train tickets. For instance: