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How to save money on student rail travel

Grand Central share their top rail travel money savings tips and tricks for student rail travel

Student Savings

Recent reports have shown that there are 2,751,865 enrolled within higher education within the UK in 2022¹.

Of course, this number doesn’t take into consideration the large number of students who will also be going to college to continue their studies this year too.

Naturally, many students will be looking for ways to make some savings, and through examining Google data we found that UK searches for ‘student railcards’ have risen by 22% across the past three months, with 18,100 monthly searches in the past month alone! Additionally, UK searches for ‘money saving students’ have seen a significant +88% three-month change.

With our train lines running through big university cities such as York, Sunderland, London, and Bradford, we’ve pulled together some of our top tips and money saving tricks for students looking to travel with us by rail in the coming months.

Grand Central’s Top Money Saving Tips and Tricks for Student Rail Travel

1. Always book direct with Grand Central to avoid any hidden booking feesUnlike some ticket providers, we pride ourselves on never charging hidden fees for those booking their train tickets with us directly, so you’ll always know you’re getting the best price!

2. Investing in a railcard is a great way in which to make some substantial savings for those looking to travel by rail whilst at college or university. Railcard’s can help you to save up to a 1/3 off tickets and can be purchased for just £30 a year, or £70 for a three-year card, making it just £23.33 a year! You must be aged between 16 and 30 years of age to be eligible for this type of railcard, and savings will vary depending on destination and time of day, but full T&Cs can be found here. Top tip: If you’re on the hunt for a practical gift for an upcoming birthday or even for Christmas, then why not consider treating them to a student railcard? They can make a great present for the students in your life, especially if it helps them to save a little bit of money while they study!

3. Students who sign up to the Grand Central student scheme get even bigger savings exclusively with the rail operator.  By entering your email address via the form on the Grand Central website, students can save 25% off fares with or without a railcard. However, those who do have railcard can make savings of up to 50% on travel via a Grand Central train – and there's no limit to the number of codes you can come back and request!  

For example, a ticket from London Kings Cross to York with Grand Central can cost you as little as £24.00, however, by making use of the Grand Central student discount of 25%, the ticket becomes £18.00. And, by combining this with a Student Railcard which offers a further third off in savings, students travelling with us can get up to an additional £8 off the cost of their ticket, meaning they would pay £10 for their journey between the two cities. 

Whilst for those travelling between our Bradford and London stations, using an Off-Peak Single can pay as little as £65 each way. Adding the Grand Central student discount then offers student rail users an additional 25% off the cost of their ticket, bringing the total down by around £16.25, to £48.75 Combining this with the savings that can be made via a student railcard, then students traveling with Grand Central could be paying as little as £29.25 to travel on any Off-Peak service along this route. 

4. If you don’t have a railcard, booking in advance can help you make further savings of up to 80%. Whether you’re visiting friends elsewhere in the country, heading home for October half term, planning ahead for your Christmas journey home, or simply a parent looking to visit your child at university for the weekend, booking your ticket in advance means you can secure yourself a seat, even when trains are set to be busier.

The good news is you can even book tickets right the way up to March 2023, and even without a railcard, savings of up to 80% can be made.


From our research it’s easy to see that those heading off to college or university are looking for ways to keep costs down, especially when it comes to their travel. And with our train lines running through several UK university cities, we wanted to show the savings that can be made by students and their families when travelling with us!

For those students who are moving to a new town or city to study and are eager to find some inspiration for things to see and do in and around the local area, why not check out our handy guides that showcase some of the top things to do across some of the towns and cities along our train routes too.

Remember to sign up using your address to gain an exclusive 25% off travel with Grand Central here:

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Notes for Editors    
For further information, please contact Alexa Cobbold at 


Google search trend data correct as of 31/8/2022 and was compared by Grand Central for this study.


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