It’s that time of the year again when ScotRail reintroduce special fares for the over 55’s. It began yesterday, May 1st, and operates until June 20th (be careful of the dates, a few people get it into their heads that it lasts for the whole of June.)

During that time you can travel anywhere in Scotland for £15 single or £19 single if you want to travel first class so it becomes ideal for days out and shortbreaks. . Obviously, it isn’t worth buying the ticket if the fare is less than £15 but above that, it is a good bargain. Last year I went from Glasgow to Aberdeen and back to Edinburgh for £30 which gave a saving over the time I wanted to go of about £25. But do check the fares. Even on that route, it is possible to buy an advance ticket for just over a tenner to Aberdeen.

For those south of the border, you don’t have to start the journey in Scotland itself. The journey can start from Carlisle or Berwick-upon-Tweed so you can buy a return ticket from your home to either of those two stations and then use an over 55’s ticket.

There are some rules to remember. You can’t travel before 9.15am on weekdays and there are some time restrictions from Edinburgh and Glasgow. You are also not limited to ScotRail. Cross Country, Virgin, East Coast and First TransPennine will honor the tickets. Although you don’t need proof of age when you buy a ticket, you might be asked by the train guard, so carry something with you like a driving license.

Other train companies do operate tickets for over 55’s at certain times of the year. I have used TransPennine’s fares from Leeds to York which almost cut the fare in half and Arriva’s fares in Wales to go from Newport to Milford Haven. First Great Western has also operated a similar scheme. In each of these cases, it is on their train routes so, for example, with Arriva, you could travel a little way into England.

Finally back to ScotRail. In July and August, they will have another promotion; a return fare for £22 between any two stations in Scotland.