Military veterans and their families will soon be eligible for a new railcard - here’s what you need to know

A new railcard which will provide discounts for military veterans is set to launch later this year.

The Conservative party pledged to introduce it during their general election campaign as part of a wider promise to improve veteran care.

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Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden has said that the “new action plan will help to make the UK the best place in the world for veterans."

With UK rail fares have risen 2.7 per cent at the start of January, the discount will no doubt be highly welcome.

Here’s everything you need to know about the veterans rail card.

The Conservatives made many promises to veterans as part of their general election campaign. Picture: Ben StansallL/AFP

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What is the veterans railcard?

The new card will allow veterans to save a third off most rail fares, and is expected to help up to 830,000 veterans who do not currently benefit from any other discounts. Military veterans of all ages will be eligible for the card, although it is aimed specifically at those who do not already qualify for a pre-existing railcard.

Of the 2.4 million veterans currently living in the UK, it is estimated that around 1.6 million already qualify for a railcard.

The goal is both to improve veterans job prospects by making them more mobile and to improve their wellbeing by providing them with better links to family and friends. The card will also allow their partners and children to receive discounted tickets when they travel together, further fostering these connections.

The card will cost £21 a year when it is first introduced, rising to £30 after that.

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Transport Secretary Grant Sharps has said that the railcard “will help open up opportunities to veterans, whether through employment and retraining, or by strengthening links with friends and family.”

“I believe that enabling former service personnel to travel more easily is the least we can do,” he added.

When will it be introduced?

The new card will be released on Wednesday 11 November 2020. This coincides with the UK’s Remembrance Day, which honours those who have lost their lives as a result of war.

The date commemorates the end of the First World War and was previously known as Armistice Day, however the name was then changed so as to include those who died during the Second World War and all subsequent conflicts.

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Which other railcards are currently available?

The UK has provided railcards to those over 60 years old and to people with disabilities for many years. These both offer the same one third discount as the new veterans card and are available for a similar price.

Current armed services members are also eligible for a HM Forces railcard, which costs £21 per year and provides a one third discount on most tickets.

Last year saw the introduction of two new age-based railcards – one which granted those between 26 and 30 a third off their journeys, and one which gave 16 and 17 year olds access to half price travel.