Direct Rail Riders

Direct Rail Services (DRS) has named locomotive 66303 “Rail Riders 2020” in honour of the rail members club. 

66303 Rail Riders 2020 ©Railcam UK

Originally running from 1981 to 1991, Rail Riders was reformed into the rail enthusiasts’ club it is today. It relaunched on 29 February 2020 and has had to battle Covid restrictions ever since, while all the while growing to 600 members in just over a year, and this marks the first official naming event to take place in public. 

66303 Rail Riders 2020, York ©Railcam UK

This morning (Wednesday 7 July 2021) DRS’s class 66, 66303 was unveiled at York station wearing its new nameplate to a select audience of Rail Riders members and representatives from DRS. 

Chris Connelly, NTS Deputy CEO and DRS Rail Director, said: “It’s fantastic to work with the rail enthusiast community on this project and it will be great to see Rail Riders 2020 cover Britain’s railway network. 

“66303 was chosen as it can cover the entire rail network and can be used on DRS’s entire portfolio of work from nuclear to intermodal, ensuring the country’s lights stay on and supermarket shelves are full.” 

Rail Riders Simon Buxton with members of the DRS team at York, alongside 66303 Rail Riders 2020 ©Railcam UK
66303 Rail Riders 2020, York ©Railcam UK

Simon Buxton, Rail Riders Director, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with DRS and would like the thank them for their support. It’s been a long time coming, having been originally planned for last year but to have the locomotive actually named in York station is incredible. I look forward to seeing photos of this special locomotive on social media travelling around the country.  

“We’ve now got two named locomotives flying the flag for the club which is beyond my wildest dreams when I first started the process of bringing it back to life. The club will go from strength to strength over the next 12 months and the response we have received across the railway family has been outstanding.” 

66303 Rail Riders 2020 & 66175 Rail Riders Express, York ©Railcam UK

Rail Riders in partnership with Bishop Trains relaunch Rail Travel Vouchers

Remembered by former members, the Rail Riders travel vouchers which gained them discounted travel on the British Rail network between 1981 and 1991 are returning.

Since its relaunch back in February this year, Rail Riders has steadily grown and can now offer members discounted travel on 49 heritage and mini railways alongside 35 railway themed outlets from model shops to online businesses and in March this year DB Cargo named 66175 Rail Riders Express.

The latest development in the growth of Rail Riders is the partnership with Bishop Trains, a National Rail ticket retailer based at Bishop Auckland railway station. This has led to the introduction to Rail Riders members the unique opportunity to have discounted Rail travel vouchers again.

One person members will receive 3 £5 vouchers totalling £15 and the Family members will receive a total of 5 £5 vouchers totalling £25 for their annual membership, on renewal of the membership a new batch of vouchers will be issued.

These vouchers can be used against all National Rail tickets including Advance fares, Railcards (Family, Senior, 16-25, Two Together), London Transport Day Travelcards, Some London Underground point to point single & return tickets, Sleeper reservations, Rail Rover & Ranger tickets and Rail-Sail tickets through to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.

The vouchers can only be used with Bishop Trains via their website or by phone 01388 661394 quoting their membership number and the unique voucher number or visiting Bishop Auckland Railway station. There is a minimum spend of £70 per transaction before a voucher can be used.

Simon Buxton, Director of Rail Riders said “Its been amazing the response we have received since bringing back this iconic club, including support we have gained from the industry. We never thought we would have the opportunity to bring this integral part of the former club back. We thank Bishop Trains for giving our members the chance to use these vouchers. Our goal is to encourage more usage of all railways and this is a great step to achieve this

David Million, Business owner of Bishop Trains, Bishop Auckland said “Bishop Trains are extremely proud to be working with the new Rail Riders Club. Many of us of a certain age, will remember with fondness the original Rail Riders Club back in British Rail days and the excitement of going to the station, vouchers in hand, for a day out by train.   The new partnership between Bishop Trains and Rail Riders brings back an important part of the club format and we hope it will help ignite a new passion for rail travel in the UK after what has been a challenging year for us all”.