Love getting on a train, me. Sitting there, rumbling along, headphones in, Marks and Sparks G&T on the flop-down table in front of me, rolling hills flashing by - this is the life. Only thing I don’t like about trains is the price. You gotsta pay to get on a train, and they’re not half expensive - it costs more to get to Newcastle on a train than it does to get to France on a plane, and that’s ridiculous.
Thankfully, when I was Yung Whippersnapper, I had a Young Person’s Railcard, and everything was good because I got a third off my rail travel. A whole third - that’s a hefty bit of bunce, there - really made it worth having one. But then I turned 27 (the trick is to buy a three-year one when you’re 24), and I wasn’t allowed one anymore - I had to pay the full price like the rest of the ‘adults’, and I was NOT happy about it.
As such, I now get fewer trains - I’d rather unicycle to Newcastle than pay through my absolutely massive nose to get on those there railtracks. But thankfully there is genuine, literal hope for those over 27s out there, those light-pocketed youngsters who still want to grab a discount on the trains, and it is: the Millennial Railcard, for 26-30-year-olds.
A trial of the new railcard was carried out in East Anglia, and now it’s going to go national in Spring 2018, so everyone can have one - even you! When it finally rolls out, it’ll set you back about £30 (which you’ll more than make back in savings if my experience is anything to go by) although there will be some restrictions on peak-time travel, just like your common-or-garden Young Persons’ jobby.
Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, said:
“It’s good news that government has chosen to build on the trial of a 26-30 railcard by Greater Anglia on behalf of the wider industry.
“A key commitment in our long-term plan to change and improve is to boost communities by enabling more people to travel by train and that’s why we developed this proposal.”
Seriously, this is good - did you know that youngsters in their twenties earn, on average, £12,500 less than the generation before them? Research from the Resolution Foundation think tank found this when they conducted a study - Generation X raked in way more than us lot in the 1981 - 2000 birth-bracket.
So this railcard will offer a slight respite from the ever-tightening clasp of debt and despair that threatens so many of our youthful necks.
We know all this because of a ‘top secret’ document that did the rounds on a UK rail forum (love a UK rail forum) which supposedly shows a briefing given to Rail Delivery Group staff about the proposed railcard. Also, the Association of Train Operating Companies appears to have registered a number of website domain names that relate to the mythical card, so bets are high that it’s going ahead.
Essentially, what I’m saying is: don’t lock yourself in your bedroom, consigned to a life of no travel, left to rot in your bed, never to see another town, city or country ever again, just because you’re 27. There is hope. YOU SHALL GO TO THE BALL (IN NEWCASTLE)!
(Image: Michal Parzuchowski)