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  1. ITV Report

Britain's membership of Interrail scheme to end

Britain is to stop being part of the Interrail scheme. Credit: PA

Britain’s train companies will no longer be part of the Interrail and Eurail schemes which allow tourists to travel across Europe with a single pass.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said its members will stop participating in the programmes because it believes the separate BritRail pass is “the best option” for visitors to Britain.

Interrail (for European citizens) and Eurail (for the rest of the world) passes entitle holders to travel across as many as 31 countries.

Buying a pass to explore Europe by rail was seen as a rite of passage for many young people until the dawn of budget airlines.

Travel on Eurostar services will not be affected. Credit: PA

Eurail Group, which manages the schemes, ended the membership of Britain’s rail firms after they chose to stop selling Eurail passes.

Britain has been part of Interrail since its launch in 1972.

Passes purchased after January 1 next year will not be recognised by the country’s train operators, although their use on Eurostar services is not affected by the decision.

Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of Seat61.com, said the decision is "a backwards step" as it would put visitors off from going to destinations such as Edinburgh, York and Bath.

"They’ll be encouraged to see London and go back and enjoy their free travel elsewhere, so it's bad news for the regions," he added.

The UK has been a part of Interrail since 1973. Credit: AP

RDG director of nations and regions Robert Nisbet said: "The rail industry boosts British tourism and working together, rail companies are offering the best option for tourists with BritRail, which is recommended by Visit Britain, offers two for one deals on 200 attractions across the country and includes the convenience of mobile tickets.

"Although the Eurail Group has ended our decades-long membership of Interrail since we stopped trialling Eurail passes, British people will feel no difference - they can still buy an Interrail pass, get the Eurostar and travel by train across Europe."