Protests to be held as commuters braced for rail fare rise

Dave Welsh, convenor for NOR4NOR. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dave Welsh, convenor for NOR4NOR. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Protestors are to hold a demonstration against another rise in rail fares as commuters brace themselves for higher ticket prices for the New Year.

A Greater Anglia train. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

A Greater Anglia train. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia has raised the cost of journeys by 3.4pc for the start of 2018, with fares nationally now 50pc higher than they were 10 years ago.

The move means that an Ipswich to Norwich from £17.60 to £18.20, while a Lowestoft to Norwich returns goes up from £11.20 to £11.60.

As a result representatives from NOR4NOR - Norfolk for Nationalisation of Rail, Norwich - will stage a protest between 10am and 1pm on Tuesday, January 2.

Dave Welsh, from NOR4NOR, said: 'NOR4NOR condemns the massive 3.4pc fares increase on Greater Anglia services and calls a for a freeze of fares.

'Once again, passengers will be hit by an increase which outstrips pay rises, the highest since 2013. Greater Anglia is simply penalising passengers with fares which are (nationally) 50pc higher than in 2007.'

Greater Anglia's fare rise is exactly in line with the national average which is set by the government and based on July's inflation rate.

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Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: 'The answer to this racket is a full return to public ownership of Britain's railways and an end to this gross profiteering at the fare-payers expense.'

However Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators, said: 'On average, fares will rise by less than inflation this year. For every pound paid in fares, 97p goes directly back to operating and improving services.'

Network Rail has also warned passengers from Norfolk and Suffolk will face longer journeys to London at weekends again for the first three months of 2018 as Network Rail engineers return to install new track and overhead lines on the route to Liverpool Street.

There will be no through weekend trains from the region to the capital in February and March – and no through Sunday services after January 14.

The disruption will continue until the long Easter weekend – March 30 to April 2 – after which no firm plans have been made by Network Rail.