Veterans Railcard Celebrates It's First Year

25th November 2021

Travelling by train is more than just a journey, it connects and reconnects you to the people, places and things you love with ease. For some, rail travel is integral to helping them explore, improve their wellbeing and attend training, job interviews and wellness retreats.

To celebrate the Veterans Railcard turning one we’ve caught up with some of our Veteran Railcard customers to find out how the Veterans Railcard has supported them over the past 12 months.

BEVERLEY

At the age of 26, Beverley left her job as an estate agency to pursue a career in the British Army. As a single parent she wanted to give her daughter a better quality of life. After 12 weeks initial training in Winchester and 9 weeks in Worthy Down, she was posted to Germany before being deployed on OP TELIC 3 in 2003 and was in Basra Palace when Suddam Hussain was finally captured nearby in Ad-Dawr. She explained: “That will be a moment in history I’ll never forget.”

Beverley left the forces when illness started preventing her from being able to do the job she loved, but despite undergoing cervical treatment both in Germany and the UK she still managed to be part of her regiments winning Pentathlon team before she left.

“Returning to Civvy Street in 2005 was one of the toughest experiences of my life. I just wasn’t prepared for it and I felt lost. I have a lot of sympathy for people in the same position. Since leaving the Army I lived in London for 11 years and always travelled by train. The launch of the Veterans Railcard has made it more affordable for me to visit my friends and family on a more regular basis. I recently had a hysterectomy and suffered a complication, making it harder for me to drive long distances so being able to travel by train has ensured I am able to stay connected with the people, places, and things I love. It is also really rewarding to receive some recognition for my time served in her Majesty’s British Armed Forces. Being able to add my daughter on it too, means she’s also able to benefit from great savings.”

SIMON

In 2011 Simon decided he wanted to do more with his life. Inspired by friends who had served in the forces he decided to leave his home in Dorset and took up a job as a Royal Logistics Movement Controller. Responsible for ensuring forces personnel and equipment arrived on time, in the correct location, he travelled all over the world, spending time in Afghanistan and the Middle East. A year after leaving the forces Simon sought support from his old unit to help him with his PTSD and anxiety. Due to the transferrable skills developed in the forces Simon now works in the NHS alongside other Veterans. He explained:

“During break time one day me and my fellow colleagues were listening to BFBS when we heard about the launch of the Veterans Railcard. Being able to save 1/3 on my rail travel has meant that I've been able to attend more Veteran Retreats, run by Valkyrie Wilderness Workshops CIC, which has helped me meet others who have had similar experiences to mine and also manage PTSD and anxiety.”

“Veterans returning to Civvy Street get a lot of great support from the forces and charities like SSAFA, but the introduction of the Veterans Railcard means people will be able to save money on going to job interviews, training courses and reconnecting with friends across the country. I’ve taught myself photography as a way of dealing with PTSD so I'm looking forward to exploring more of Britain by train and meeting up with my friends”.

IAIN

After leaving Edinburgh with a degree in Archaeology, Iain joined the Royal Tank Regiment as he wanted to do something adventurous and give something back to his country. After 11 months of training at Sandhurst he got stationed in Germany before being posted to Afghanistan in 2007 with his squadron. After a varied career in the Army, from learning winter sports in Calgary to training young soldiers fresh from ‘Civvy Street’, he decided that he’d like to explore the corporate world, so made the decision to leave. He explained:

“I had a fantastic time in the Army, it was such a varied and fulfilling experience working for Queen and country. The support I had when I left was fantastic, commuting to my new job from Salisbury to Canary Wharf would have been made a lot easier with the Veterans Railcard back then, so I’m really pleased it will be there to help others when they make the transition back Civvy Street.”

“The launch of the Veterans Railcard has been great in helping me save money going to meetings and connecting with the clients I’ve made since setting up a digital agency called VUMO Digital. Saving 1/3 off my travel has helped me lower my carbon footprint too, as I now always pick travelling by train into London than driving my car, as I don’t have to worry about parking or getting stuck in traffic. It also makes staying in touch with my comrades much easier, we live all over the country so the money we save on travel means more opportunities to meet up more frequently.”

STEVE

Steve joined the RAF as an Electronics Technician at the age of 17 and a half. Initially based at RAF Lyneham after trade training he served in the Falklands in 1984 before spending four years in Berlin. Returning to the UK he re-trained to non-commissioned aircrew an Air Electronics Operator (Radar) and spent time on Nimrod MR2 and E3D before being made redundant on his 50th birthday and was given 12 months of support before joining civvy street. He explained:

“I loved my time in the Royal Air Force, and still meet up with crew mates from time to time, which has been made so much easier and more affordable since the launch of the Veterans Railcard. My Railcard journey started when I was in the forces when I had a H M Forces Railcard. When I was made redundant, I trained to become a paramedic which saw me transition over to a Student Railcard (now known as the 16-25 Railcard). Once qualified my partner and I got a Two Together Railcard as we knew we’d be able to make the cost of the Railcard back in just one or two journeys to London. The launch of the Veterans Railcard means we can both benefit from 1/3 off rail travel, which has come in really handy so we can travel to London and catch-up on the shows and concerts that were delayed due to the pandemic. An added bonus of the Veterans Railcard is that I can travel alone to watch Arsenal Play at the Emirates Stadium with the 1/3 off rail travel.”

LEE

Joining the Royal Yeomanry (TA, now Army Reserves) in the late 1980s, Lee was looking for a challenge and something he knew would help him with his development. Juggling a young family, work & the TA it became the equivalent of three full-time jobs. It wasn’t easy, so after 12 years he finished his military career in armoured chemical reconnaissance and focused back towards civilian life thanks to the help and support of his family and close friends. Over the last 20+ years Lee has continued to stay in touch with many friends he made during his time in the military, which has now been easier thanks to the launch of the Veterans Railcard. Since his purchase he’s been able to save 1/3 off fares to meet up with his comrades on trips to rugby matches as well as days out with his wife and family. He explained:

“I purchased the Veterans Railcard in August to go on a trip to London with my wife. The savings we made more than paid for the £30 cost. I’m going to be using my Railcard to help me continue to connect with comrades from all over the country and enjoying rugby matches together”.

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