The industry has yet to fully recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as ministers attempt to boost national tourism now that restrictions have come to an end.
The discount applies to certain off-peak trains between now and May 27, with routes being selected for cheaper prices based on demand and the potential to encourage more travel.
UK train companies have effectively been under Government control since March 2020, and now as part of the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements the Government receives revenue from ticket sales and pays most operating costs.
Some of the train journeys getting discount rates include the popular London-Edinburgh route, with some tickets going for just £22.
Fares from London-Cardiff will drop to £25, Portsmouth-Penzance will fall to £22 and a trip from York-Leeds could cost just £2.80.
The “Great British Rail Sale” has been welcomed by train companies, reported The Times.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50 percent off more than a million tickets.
“There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country.”
Train passenger levels are still only at 75 percent of what they were pre-pandemic, whereas car usage is now at 93 percent.
The Department for Transport is aiming to make train travel more accessible for those struggling with the cost of living crisis.
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“It can show the Treasury that the way to increase income is to cut fares, not keep ratcheting them up and driving people off the railway.”
Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group Jacqueline Starr said: “We want everyone to be able to benefit from travelling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things they love.”
The tickets will be available to buy from train operators and on the Trainline site.