Why can’t railcards be extended?

Paul Lewis answers a reader's question about railcard extensions

Business on the go - young Asian businesswoman sitting in train wearing protective mask, using smartphone. Copy space.

KP copied me in on a letter to National Rail: “I have not been able to travel since last March due to Covid-19, and my Senior Railcard is due to expire in September. I hope you’ll extend it so it will be valid for another year, as the lockdown has still not been lifted and we don’t know when we will be free to travel again.”


There are several kinds of railcards, including the Senior (for those over 60) and many people — including me! — feel the same as KP. But sadly, we will not be getting a refund or an extension. “We understand the restrictions due to Covid mean some railcard customers haven’t made all of the journeys they had planned,” says National Rail. “But the Government has confirmed to us that railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended. Rest assured that this decision hasn’t been taken lightly.” The explanation I got was that the £30-a-year railcard knocks a third off the price of most fares, so pays for itself on first or second use. Even if we have used it only once or twice then, we will not, at least, end up out of pocket.

QUESTIONS?* Send yours to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com

*Though Paul will not be able to answer questions personally, he will endeavour to answer some in his Radio Times column