Just over a week ago, Arriva Trains Wales reintroduced their Club 55 deal. From today (17th January) another railway company has re-introduced the Club 55 deals for 6 weeks. This time it is just ScotRail not the whole of the First Group. The offer is open up to and including 31st March. Arriva’s is open until 9th April
Club 55 is a discount system for those aged over 55. You don’t have to book beforehand, you can just turn up on the day and buy a ticket there and then. This time, the ScotRail price is £18 return between any two stations in Scotland. But it also covers stations from Carlisle northwards on the west coast and from Berwick-upon-Tweed on the east side. So potentially you can get from Carlisle to Wick and return for just that £18.
The Arriva tickets are the £15 return on their network but, potentially, they offer a better deal because they have signed up deals with other train companies. For example, you can get to Birmingham on Cross Country by paying another tenner and to London on Wrexham & Shropshire for £25 extra return. Arriva already runs to Manchester and Cheltenham Spa on its own route so if you are going to buy add-on tickets check to see the best deal. London Midland, Northern Rail, and Mersey rail are also participating by providing add-on services.
The next thing to remember is that it isn’t limited to just a few tickets and that when they are sold you pay a higher fare. As long as you are over 55 and can prove that, (although I have never been asked so I must look my age) you won’t be refused a ticket. And there is a first-class travel option of £23 return on the Edinburgh and Glasgow lines to Inverness and Aberdeen as well as the Inverness to Aberdeen line
There are a couple of restrictions. You can catch a train that will get you into Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool before 9.30am; You can’t leave from Glasgow or Edinburgh between 16.42 and 18.09 or on the 18.15 service between Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can’t travel on the Holyhead to Cardiff first class service. There are also restrictions at the time of the Cheltenham Festival and when there are internationals being played in Cardiff.
You can get a small extra discount if you have a senior railcard.
Remember though that there is no point in buying a ticket if the normal price you would pay is below either the £18 or £15 so check first what the fare would be.
I’ve just done a quick check now amongst other train companies who have offered this sort of deal in the past and so far, none have announced any similar promotion but we’ll keep an eye out and let you know.
See www.scotrail.co.uk and www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk for more details.