Fury as West Norfolk rail passengers feel pinch from fare hike

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Rail passengers in West Norfolk have been “fobbed off for years” over the prospect of service improvements, according to campaigners.

The claim was made as activists gathered outside Lynn’s station to protest against the annual increase in fares.

Ticket prices rose by an average of 3.4 per cent on Tuesday under the annual rail fare calculator, which is based on the inflation figure from last July.

Although rail industry officials say some fares will not increase, the measure will add around £80 to the cost of an annual season ticket for travel between Lynn and Cambridge.

And campaigners at Lynn’s station on Tuesday morning demanded an end to what they called the “Tory rip-off” on the tracks.

North West Norfolk Labour party secretary Jo Rust said there was a “mood of dismay” among commuters, many of whom were returning to work for the first time following the Christmas break, about the increases and the slow rate of progress on line improvements.

She said: “People are held to ransom here. They have no choice but to use the providers they’ve got.

“We’ve been fobbed off for years about improvements and we never see any delivery.”

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operating companies and Network Rail, says average fare rises are below the rate of inflation, with 97 pence out of every pound spent on fares going back into the network.

Its chief executive, Paul Plummer, said: “Over the next 18 months alone the country will see an unprecedented transformation in rail services, including dramatic improvements across the Thameslink network and through the Great North Rail Project.”

But critics say fares have risen twice as fast as wages since 2010.

Mrs Rust said: “It’s money that’s coming out of our economy. I say this every year.”