Veterans

Veterans Railcard To Launch On Armistice Day

The new railcard will only be for use in England, however the Government hopes to extend it to Scotland and Wales also.

A new railcard for British military veterans is to be launched on Armistice Day.

Due to be made available from 11 November, it will extend cheaper train travel to more than 830,000 veterans who do not qualify for existing discounts.

However, at least initially, it will only be for use in England.

The railcard will cost £21 for an introductory period, before the price is increased to £30.

Holders will be able to save a third off most train tickets, although certain restrictions will apply.

It follows railcards launched last year for members of the public aged between 16 and 17 years old, and 26 and 30 years old.

Joined by veterans at St Pancras railway station, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the veterans card "will help open up opportunities" in employment, retraining and personal relationships for veterans.

The move honours a manifesto commitment set out by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson - part of the Government's veterans strategy.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said the railcard "is only the start" and that more can still be done to protect those who served.

How will veterans be able to use the new railcard?

The railcard can be used at any time - peak or off-peak - although during peak times a minimum fare of £12 applies.

At the moment, it can only be used in England, but the Government hopes to eventually extend it to Scotland and Wales.

If a cardholder is travelling with their spouse or children, they are all able to claim discounted tickets.

The launch of the veterans railcard is part of a wider action plan, also launched today and coordinated by the Office for Veterans Affairs, setting out to achieve a more holistic approach to veterans' wellbeing.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden, who represents the Office for Veterans' Affairs in Cabinet, said: "Our new action plan will help to make the UK the best place in the world for veterans.

"The Office for Veterans' Affairs will drive the plan from the heart of Government, working to help veterans on jobs, housing and health through better data and a more joined up approach."

Former Royal Marine, Phil Spencer, said: "I think it probably could have happened a little bit sooner but none the less, it's fantastic.

"It's something that should be offered to veterans, I believe, when you look at all the different types of railcards that are possible."

James Green, who used to serve in the Royal Artillery, said: "I think it should be free.

"I know there's going to be a cost to it, administering the scheme and so on, but I think the veterans railcard should be free." 

Cover image: The Veteran railcard will be launched on 11 November 2020 (Picture: Department for Transport).