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I have just become eligible for a senior railcard. This question is more in hope than expectation: can I get any discounts outside the UK?

I guess that the answer is no. The FAQ page tells me that it is not valid in the Republic of Ireland or even Northern Ireland so it is not actually even a whole UK railcard. This strongly suggests but does not confirm that it has no value beyond.

UK railcard FAQs

Addition: I ask with a little hope because some England / GB / UK cards have some value beyond their primary territory e.g. National Trust and English Heritage.

Addition: Use as proof of age is not interesting as, if I am overseas, I will necessarily have something else which is likely to be accepted e.g. my passport or national ID card. Anyway, it would seem to be of no use as the card does not indicate my age. I had to provide evidence of my age to get it but nothing appears on the card itself. There is also no photo so I am not sure how an inspector would verify that it is mine. I presume that I should carry some other ID but I don't see that requirement stated.

Based on experience with some other memberships, I had hoped that a few other organizations might accept it. I gave a couple of examples in my previous addition: National Trust and English Heritage cards are accepted in some places beyond their primary territory. My Oxford Union membership card allows me access to a variety of organizations around the world.

  • There are no UK railcards, the largest area covered by any railcard is Great Britain. – gerrit Nov 6 '18 at 11:06
  • @gerrit So, I found from the FAQ and I mentioned in my text: "not actually even a whole UK railcard". – badjohn Nov 6 '18 at 11:10
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    As with may things with UK trains there are always exceptions, while the UK is to broad a term for the area covered by a national railcard due to Northern Island. Grrat Britain is a too restrictive regions as railcards are valid on the Isle of White which is not part of Great Britain. There are also some local railcards valid in much smaller regions. – skifans Nov 6 '18 at 11:16
  • @skifans "Great Britain" is often taken to be a semi-geographical, semi-political term that includes the main island plus smaller islands which are really politically indistinct from the main island (so the Isle of Wight, Anglesea, etc.) – Muzer Nov 6 '18 at 11:21
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    Although a discussion of the terms GB, UK, etc may be interesting, it was not my intention to trigger that debate. – badjohn Nov 6 '18 at 11:40
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No, the railcard doesn't carry any benefits outside of the UK.

From the FAQ page you linked in the question:

Which train companies give Railcard discounts?

You can use your Railcard on all franchised train operating companies that provide services within England, Scotland and Wales.

Railcards do not give discounts on Eurostar services, Charter services, and Heritage Railways unless state otherwise.

and

Can I use my Railcard on any Train Company?

Yes. Your Railcard is accepted by all of the Train Companies who operate Passenger Railway Services in Great Britain, except Eurostar. Special excursions and charters are also excluded.

There's no explicit statement that non-UK services aren't included (except those in Ireland), but the FAQs provide a straightforward and reasonably specific description of where the card is valid (and of the services within that region which are excluded), with no mention of any validity outside the UK.

This strikes me as a case where an absence of evidence is very strong evidence of absence. If the cards were accepted by (for example) Deutsche Bahn or other foreign train service providers, this would surely be mentioned in the above FAQs.

  • Thanks. I did say "more in hope than expectation" but I thought that there might be some chance. E.g. a country that gave old people a discount even if not citizens but needed some evidence. – badjohn Nov 6 '18 at 11:15
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    @badjohn there may well be countries which do that, but I think it would be hard to classify as a benefit of a railcard if the qualification is only age-based (it sounds like potentially another good question, though). I doubt a railcard would be officially recognised as proof-of-age anyway in such cases (a passport or driving license would probably be required, or national ID card for citizens of countries which have them), although I suppose it's not too hard to image a generous ticket inspector accepting it. – Chris H Nov 6 '18 at 11:42
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    Probably so but I just had a little hope that there may be some odd reciprocal recognition agreement with some other rail operator. Sometimes these arrangements are not obvious. For example, I visited Warwick Castle a while ago and failed to guess that my English Heritage card would have given me a 50% discount; quite upsetting since it is quite expensive. – badjohn Nov 6 '18 at 11:45
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While there is no intentionally-provided value for the card outside of the UK as detailed in Chris H's answer, perhaps as a matter of fringe value the card might be deemed an acceptable form of proof of age in countries where there are senior discounts offered without the need for a special card to redeem the discount, such as Belgium.

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    That it "might be" accepted is a very vague statement. Is there any evidence that it will be? As far as I can tell from the sample image on the official site and other results on a google image search, a senior railcard doesn't even show the holder's date of birth. I'd be very surprised if it's in officially acceptable as proof of age anywhere (that's not to rule out that a generous ticket inspector might accept it anyway, but I certainly wouldn't advise anybody to rely on it). – Chris H Nov 6 '18 at 13:22
  • @ChrisH No, this is purely speculative which is why I defer to your answer as the substantive answer to the question. The scenario really only serves an illustrative purpose as an example of why supplementary value not intended as part of the conception of the card might still exist somewhere. – Will Nov 6 '18 at 13:30
  • @Will while I'm sure it's well-intended, answering with purely speculative suggestions of benefits which may or may not exist doesn't strike me as particularly helpful. It's quite possible somebody trying that out would end up getting themselves into trouble if reality doesn't match up to your speculation. – Chris H Nov 6 '18 at 13:38
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    As a Belgian: the card will not be accepted, but any proof of age that would be accepted by the police (such as ID or driver's license) will be. – DonFusili Nov 6 '18 at 14:01
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    In Poland it would not - only passports or ID cards with date of birth, and senior tickets issued in Poland, can do the trick (note: with some senior tickets you still need passport or ID card to confirm age). – Mołot Nov 6 '18 at 14:20

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