Train operators are giving away a limited number of “golden tickets” to encourage workers who have missed out on travelling due to the pandemic to take a well-earned day off.
The tickets will grant the lucky winners free rail travel across the UK for an entire year, allowing people to make the most of a relaxing staycation.
Workers urged to take a break
A survey of 2,781 UK adults commissioned by the rail industry found that 28 per cent of people have not yet taken any annual leave this year.
The survey found that one in four (24 per cent) said they were waiting for Covid-19 restrictions to be lifted before booking any time off.
In England, all lockdown restrictions are due to be lifted on Monday (19 July) just before schools break up for the summer holidays, which may inspire more workers to take a long-awaited break.
Meanwhile, Scotland will move to Level 0 from 19 July and Wales will move fully into alert level one from 17 July, meaning up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.
In Northern Ireland, First Minister Paul Givan has said the country could complete its roadmap out of restrictions by the end of summer, with further rules to be eased from 26 July.
The poll also found that 47 per cent of adults have worked longer than their normal working hours during the pandemic, with two-fifths saying they are feeling the effect of burn-out.
The rail industry has launched its golden tickets to highlight the importance of taking time off, even just for a day, and is encouraging workers to travel by train to visit a relative or take a minibreak.
Psychologist Dr Sarah Vohra said: “Even with restrictions easing, there’s still an element of wanting to hold holiday back for something better later.
“But regular breaks – even short ones – in a new environment help reduce stress and boost our mood and energy levels.”
How to win a ticket
A total of 12 golden tickets are up for grabs, entitling the winners to free rail travel across Britain for a whole year.
To enter, simply visit the National Rail website and complete the online form, explaining why you deserve to win the prize.
The competition is open until midnight on 7 October
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris added: “Rail is a fantastic way to explore our country in a green way, and operators are working incredibly hard to provide passengers with punctual, reliable and clean services.
“Some of the most scenic and beautiful spots in Britain are simply a train away and I would encourage people to use our remarkable railway to explore.”