TRAIN passengers will no longer be able to use Europe-wide Interrail tickets in the UK following an industry row, it was announced yesterday.
From January, the single ticket that currently allows European residents to use railways and ferries in 31 countries will not be valid in Britain.
It follows a decision by Eurail Group, the company behind Interrail, to merge the card with its separate Eurail card, which is available to travellers outside the continent.
But the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which sells a UK-wide BritRail pass for tourists, said the Eurail card was too ‘confusing’ following a one-year trial. Eurail Group has responded by saying it will now end Britain’s membership after 47 years.
The move means visitors will have to buy separate tickets to get around the UK. British travellers will no longer be able to use the passes to travel across the UK on their way to Europe, unless they start on the Eurostar. A ten-day Interrail pass, for travellers aged 27 or under, is £284. An eight-day BritRail pass for the under 25s is £142.
Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of Seat61.com, said it was ‘a backwards step’ as it would put visitors off destinations outside the capital. He added: ‘They’ll be encouraged to see London and go back and enjoy their free travel elsewhere, so it’s bad news for the regions.’
RDG said its Britrail pass ‘offers greater benefits’. Director Robert Nisbet said: ‘British people will feel no difference, they can still buy an Interrail pass, get the Eurostar and travel across Europe.’