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NEWS


Rail fare increase set at 4.1%


Passenger rail fares are to rise by an average of 4.1% in January, and some could rise by up to 9.1%. Unions and rail campaigners have criticised the rise, warning that the money will not be used for service improvements.


Regulated fares – about half of all tickets sold, including commuter season tickets – are pegged by the Government to rise


at 1% above inflation, which has just


been announced at 3.1%. Train operating companies are allowed to raise certain fares by RPI plus 5% as long as the average is still below the 4.1% cap.


Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Government determines how the average season ticket price rise is set each year. Since 2004, it has been government policy to allow regulated fares to


rise above


inflation in order to support investment in more trains, better stations and faster services.


“In order to help limit future fare rises, the


rail industry is working with the Government to find ways of providing


services even more


efficiently, building on the progress that has already been made.”


But TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, commented: “Every year hard-pressed rail commuters have to hand over an ever greater share of their earnings just to get to and from work.


“Wage-busting fare rises are not even going on much needed service improvements either. Instead, passenger and public subsidies are lining the pockets of the shareholders of private rail companies.”


And RMT general secretary Bob Crow called it “a kick in the


“Anyone who thinks that this massive fares surcharge will be invested in our railways needs their head examined.”


Off-peak fares will not rise in Scotland, ScotRail has announced.


A spokesperson said: “We are pleased to have frozen fares for 40% of journeys, and limited others


to increase.


“This means we continue to provide better value for money for customers in Scotland, especially when fuel and energy costs continue to rise steeply.”


‘Significant improvements’ for SWT capacity


Capacity could be increased by 15% by 2019 on the South West Trains network, the SWT/Network Rail alliance has announced.


Plans include 135 extra carriages for suburban routes, as well as infrastructure improvements; platform


extensions and re-


openings, and signalling, track and power supply improvements.


Four platforms at Waterloo


International Terminal will be brought back into use. The new trains will be longer, running in 10- car formation.


Transport secretary Patrick


“We have already confirmed plans


are in place to deliver


improvements in capacity over the next two years. However, the huge success of the railway in the UK means it will get significantly busier in the next two decades and beyond. There is also a need to invest in the infrastructure to improve the daily reliability for


McLoughlin said more capacity at Waterloo was “vital”, while Tim Shoveller, managing director of the SWT-Network Rail Alliance, said: “Our network is currently one of the busiest in Europe carrying almost 210 million passengers a year.


today’s customers.


“The Alliance between SWT and Network Rail means we are working more closely together, thinking big and creating plans for the long-term to deliver significant improvements for passengers.


“The blueprint we are develop- ing in partner- ship with the Department for Transport is a massive pro- gramme of work and requires


Electrification plans for Cumbria line


The branch line from Oxenholme Lake District station on the West Coast Main Line to Windermere station in the National Park should be electrified, the DfT says.


The £16m scheme would electrify ten miles of track, and would allow electric trains to run straight from Manchester to the Lake District.


Network Rail will be responsible


for the work as part of the broader programme of North West electrification projects, and will deliver detailed plans with passenger train


operators,


assuming the proposal gets its business case approved.


Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is a key line to one of the most important tourist areas in the UK and I


“I recognise that strong rail links across the country are important drivers in our economic recovery at a national and regional level that is why we are pushing ahead with the biggest programmes of rail electrification ever.”


rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 13 | 7


believe the rail industry has a role in making sure more people can travel comfortably to enjoy the beautiful lakes.


significant investment.


“These plans will greatly improve what is a key part of the country’s transport infrastructure and ensure our rail network continues to support economic growth.”


an inflation-only


teeth” for passengers and “pure extortion in the name of private profit”.


© ATOC


© Mars Chen


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