UK Rail prices are on the way up by at least 4.2% from January 2013

It what should surprise… well, absolutely no-one, travelling on the UK rail network will be going up.

Price rises on commuter routes will shift up by at least 4.2%, with 6% possible on a lot of route, and some routes hitting 6.46% rises on tickets.

It seems that train companies who could had raised the prices by up to 6.2%, there has been some restraint. Price rises are calculated at 3% + Retail Price Index at July (which was 3.2%).

However, a cap was placed for the next two years, limiting price rises to the Retail Price Index + 1%, with train companies allowed to increase fares by 4%. However there is variation allowed so that charges for some routes can be increased more, whilst other routes prices can be reduced, balancing out rises to 4%.

Some highlights:

  • Ramsage/Dover/Deal to London goes up at 6.46% to £4,940 per year
  • Aylesbury-London: £3,632 (up 3.2%)
  • Shenfield-London: £2,704 (down 0.6%)

Part of the reason of the continued rise isn’t down to paying for maintenance and new rolling stock – it’s down to successive governments trying to shift the burden of paying for the railways away from the tax payer and onto the fare paying public. Of course, some of the train fare goes to renewal works

2013 marks the 10th year where train fare prices have gone up faster than inflation.

The rises also cover “regulated fares” that are controlled in terms of cost. This focuses on walkup fares in standard class, off peak intercity fares and season tickets. Special fares (such as advance fares, super off peak tickets, and any first class ticket) are at the remit of train companies and can go up or down as they please. Some companies do not even have to obey these rules if they are a non franchised rail operator (such as Heathrow Express).

This covers fares in England, Scotland and Wales.  Fares in Northern Ireland will remain as is.

However, the net result is simple: Fares are once again on the way up, making the United Kingdom one of the more expensive places in Europe to catch a train.