Fury as rail fare hike leaves West Norfolk facing first £7k season tickets

Launch of new trains at King's Lynn Railway Station
Launch of new trains at King's Lynn Railway Station

Rail passengers in West Norfolk could have to pay up to £250 more just to get to work next year, after new fare rises were confirmed this week.

Campaigners claim the 3.6 per cent increase in the cost of regulated fares, such as season tickets, will only benefit shareholders, not passengers,

But industry bosses have insisted they are working to improve network performance, despite increased costs.

The increase, which is the largest for five years, is determined by the level of the retail prices index (RPI) in July.

At present, an annual season ticket for travel from Lynn to London, costs £5,628 or £6,928 including access to the London Underground.

However, a 3.6 per cent rise will see the cost of the latter ticket go above £7,000 for the first time, to £7,177.

The rise is also set to add around £80 to the cost of an annual season ticket between Lynn and Cambridge and further fuel demands for urgent network improvements here.

Last month, the Fen Line Users Association called for fares to be cut because of what it claimed was a broken promise to deliver more frequent services between West Norfolk and London.

And North West Norfolk Labour party secretary Jo Rust said: “As always it’s the ordinary people who suffer here.

“Higher inflation, wage stagnation, a poorer service and ever increasing fares will take money out of the pockets of people who’d prefer to be spending it in our town, putting back into the economy.

“This increase benefits no one but the shareholders.”

But Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operating companies and Network Rail, said: “Money from fares pays to run and improve the railway, making journeys better, boosting the economy, creating skilled jobs and supporting communities across Britain, and politicians set increases to season tickets.

“It’s also the case that many major rail industry costs rise directly in line with RPI.

“Rail companies are working together to improve performance now, adding thousands more seats over the next 18 months and, longer term, simplifying fares and ticket buying so that the country has the railway it needs to prosper.”