Is a NSE card still worth it?

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leymoo

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My family and I (initially me at 16 and my younger brother, as it worked out better than me having a Y-P until I went to uni) have been using one of these for the past 20-25 years or so, and have seen the benefits of one being gradually eroded - removal of 1st Class supplements, removal of £1 child fares, addition of a £13 minimum fare, etc etc... In addition the new extension of the Gold Card area does not include the network railcard.

I still use one as I still do a lot of train travel alone and the number of Reading travelcards I buy on it makes it worth it over the course of a year (and in fact, it helped me last night save £8-9 getting home from Selhurst). And for the occasions my partner travels with me it works for him as well.

I now notice that the railcard isn't actually linked to the promotional sites for the Two Together Railcard or the Senior Railcard or F&F Railcard. It does seem that both the NSE and the Gold Card are being actively "hidden" - you have to know about them beforehand. In addition, the site itself is clearly a very basic bootstrap template when the others have had some design time spent on them.

So my idle thoughts are:
- is this just a gradual thing where they are actively trying to phase out the NSE? If so, why did they extend the Gold Card area?
- Why has this gone when the Y-P and the other railcards got protected? I suspect something happened at privatisation to protect those when this one didn't. Does anyone have an insight into this?
- Should I instead get one of those sub-£200 Gold Cards instead to take advantage of the non-minimum fare issue? Is this also going to be restricted at some point?
 
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talldave

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- Should I instead get one of those sub-£200 Gold Cards instead to take advantage of the non-minimum fare issue? Is this also going to be restricted at some point?

I think only you can answer that by doing the maths for your usage profile. If you buy a reasonable number of tickets it doesn't take long to recoup the outlay and get into profit.
 

leymoo

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I think only you can answer that by doing the maths for your usage profile. If you buy a reasonable number of tickets it doesn't take long to recoup the outlay and get into profit.

I added this query as an afterthought, but I already know the answer. It appears to be I make my money back fairy quickly if I can arrive into work for 1030 rather than 1000 (which may be stretching my employer's generosity a little!), but it's closer to 5 months usage if I don't and only include genuine leisure travel.
 
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CarltonA

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Last week alone I saved over £19 with my Network Railcard so for me it's a no-brainer. When the £10 weekday minimum came in a few years ago I gave up the card for a while but prices have since risen to justify having one again (even with the increase to £13).

Basically, if you spend over £90 per annum on weekend or off peak travel (within the NSE area) and you will recoup the outlay.
 

Bletchleyite

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Just do the sums, and if it makes financial sense (it does for me) buy one.

I believe the minimum fare was driven by the otherwise-well-loved Ch*l*er* R**lw*ys, though other TOCs may have also been involved. As it's not a "statutory" Railcard I recall that without that some TOCs would have pulled out entirely.
 

swt_passenger

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A 'Gold Card' is not really primarily a railcard, so I don't think you'd expect to see it mentioned on the national railcards website.
 

jon0844

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But the OP is suggesting the network railcard is not being promoted now?
 

leymoo

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The posters do appear on stations from time to time. It has never really been promoted much more than that except perhaps in the very early days.

But the other cards do appear to be promoted.

For example, the railcard website has this drop down menu:


And there are this list of links on the disabled person's railcard website:


And the menu on railcard.co.uk doesn't include the network railcard.
 

FenMan

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But the other cards do appear to be promoted.

For example, the railcard website has this drop down menu:


And there are this list of links on the disabled person's railcard website:


And the menu on railcard.co.uk doesn't include the network railcard.

Which is quite understandable, as that site is promoting railcards that have validity across the entire network.

The Network Card is a regional product and has its own site:
http://www.network-railcard.co.uk/
 

CarltonA

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It is a regional rail card we are discussing, I wouldn't expect it to be heavily promoted on a national website. Why would people in Leeds or Glasgow want to read about something that will not likely be much use to them. This from the NRE site:

"Regional Railcards

In addition to the range of national Railcards there is also a range of local, regional Railcards which offer discounts within a specific region.

The following regional Railcards are available:

Cambrian Railcard
Cotswold Line Railcard
Dales Railcard
Devon & Cornwall Railcard
Esk Valley Railcard
Thameslink and Great Northern Student 16/18 Connect Card
Heart of Wales Line Railcard
Highland Railcard
Network Railcard
Pembrokeshire Railcard
Valleys Senior Railcard"

However I often see posters up in stations in the relevant area. Since the minimum fares were introduced more operators have been prepared to accept them. I no longer have to go to Liverpool Street for Cambridge but can go via KX and Hitchin for example.
 

PeterY

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I think the NSE cards are good value.

I'm a leisure traveller. I've just had a weekend away to the Isle of Wight. Watford Junction to Shanklin. The card saved me £28 on just this one journey alone and the NSE card cost £30 for the year.

Over the year, I'm quids in.
 

Bletchleyite

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It's additionally worth noting that the NSE card offers the same child discounts as the Family and Friends Railcard, but unlike that card does not require a child to travel with the group, it can be just adult(s). It might therefore be better value than the F&F for someone who travels primarily longer distances in the South East with their family and otherwise.
 

Hadders

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I thought that the Network Railcard was technically a national railcard because there were no restrictions on who could buy one. The regional railcards can normally only be purchased by those living in the relevant railcard area.

This must have changed at some point.
 
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rs101

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They're incredible value for me - I go from Manningtree to London for leisure trips (theatre, shopping in Stratford, etc) about a dozen times a year, usually with my girlfriend or occasionally my sister (depending on the event).
A super off peak travelcard is around £30 normally, so the Network Railcard saves me money after just 2 trips for the 2 of us.

It's very well publicised at Manningtree - plenty of leaflets in the foyer. I was initially advised to get it by the ticket seller a couple of years ago.
 
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