Rail action group protest

Rail fares are set to take another hike today (Friday) and rail action groups around the country are planning a number of protest rallies which include calling for Britain’s railways to be placed back into public ownership.

Action For Rail, along with variety of other rail action groups, will be leafleting commuters at railways stations on Monday (January 5) asking for support. A spokesman said: “We already have some of the most expensive fares in Europe. We also have the most fragmented service, and the Government is now subsiding railways (and the franchises) more than when British Rail was de-nationalised. Between 1997-2012 Virgin Trains’ West Coast Mainline paid £500 million in dividends after pocketing £2,5 billion in subsidies. By contrast, the publicly owned East Coast Mainline has returned nearly £1 billion to the Government since 2009. The arguments for public ownership are overwhelming.”

Southern Rail’s regulated fares for 2015, which include season tickets, have been capped by the Government at the July 2014 RPI rate of 2.5 per cent - meaning that season tickets cannot be increased by more than 2.5 per cent.

As of today a standard class season ticket from Hastings to London Victoria costs £4,540, an increase of £108 on last year. The same journey via Haywards Heath is increased by £128 to £5,272.

Southern’s average fare rise across all fares is 2.1 per cent. www.nationalrail.co.uk.