If having pulmonary hypertension makes travelling by train difficult, you could be entitled to discounted tickets. Deborah Wain finds out more about the Disabled Persons Railcard. 

The rail network in Britain is among the oldest in the world and stretches more than 10,000 miles. In 2016 there were 1.7 billion passenger journeys, but travelling by train in Britain is more expensive than in most of Europe. In January fares increased on average by 3.4 per cent – the biggest increase in five years.

Government figures show that the Disabled Persons Railcard was issued to more than 207,000 people in 2016-17, a rise of 7.7 per cent, giving passengers a third off their fares.

Among those who qualify are people who:

  • Receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP) at any level for either the mobility or daily living components
  • Receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, or the higher or middle rate for the care component
  • Receive Attendance Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Buy or lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme

A one-year Disabled Persons Railcard costs £20, or you can get a card that lasts for three years for £54. 

What are the benefits?

You get a third off adult rail fares for travel on the National Rail network in Great Britain. There are no time restrictions on the Disabled Persons Railcard. You can use it to get a discount on Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance fares, both standard and first-class. The average annual saving has been calculated to be more than £123.

If you’re travelling with another adult friend or family member they will also get a third off their rail fare.The discount also applies to other services in London, cross country sleeper services and some rail/sea journeys. See the website disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk for full details as there are some restrictions. 

How do you apply?

You can buy a railcard online at disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk or by downloading a form and then submitting it by post. You can’t buy a card at a station. You will need to provide proof of eligibility, like a copy of your award letter.

How long does it take for the card to arrive?

The scheme recommends allowing five working days for an online application and 10 working days for a postal application. You must remember to take your railcard with you when you travel.

Are there other railcards?

Those who don’t qualify for a Disabled Persons Railcard may qualify for another kind of Railcard. These are:  

•           Senior Railcard for anyone aged 60 or over

•           16-25 Railcard for anyone aged 16 to 25 or in full time study

•           Family & Friends Railcard for anyone travelling with one child or more

•           Two Together Railcard for two named adults travelling togetherPeople who stay in their own wheelchair for a journey but don’t have a Disabled Persons Railcard will qualify for a concessionary fare.

Is there other help available while travelling by train?

The free Passenger Assist service provides support such as help getting on and off the train or with luggage. It is available by booking ahead. It can also be accessed as you go, where reasonably practicable.

For more information about the Disabled Persons Railcard email disability@raildeliverygroup.com, call 0345 605 0525 (minicom/textphone 0345 601 0132) or write to Disabled Persons Railcard Office, PO Box 6613, Arbroath, DD11 9AN.