Train passengers in King’s Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market and Littleport facing increase in fares

A season ticket between King's Lynn and London will cost more than �5,000 from January, rail bosses said last night.

Those who commute to the capital or Cambridge from Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport or Ely face increases of up to 4.2pc.

Train firm First Capital Connect, which runs services between King's Lynn and London, last night said it was minimising price rises on its network.

But the disclosure came days after a survey revealed FCC had some of the lowest operating costs in the entire industry.

'These are difficult economic times for our customers so we have pegged the rise of season tickets within our sole control to the figure set by the Government of 4.2pc - and some will rise by less than this,' an FCC spokesman said.

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'Only 3p in every pound train companies receive is profit. Fares increases for other ticket types will be released in early December as planned and it is our intention to keep these low as well.' Ministers have defended price rises as a means of making users pay more towards the cost of maintaining and modernising Britain's railways.

Andy Tyler, secretary of the Fen Line Users' Association, said: 'We've got a thriving, growing line and there are several improvements in the pipeline - better, faster trains, improvements in the infrastructure, so although the Fen Line users always regret increases, it's not as bad as it could have been.'

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Other fares are expected to increase by 6pc in January. Travellers at King's Lynn station have had mixed views.

Robert Crowther, 64, from Great Massingham, said: 'The service is very good, it's usually quite reliable. You expect it to go up so somehow it doesn't seem quite that bad.'

Linda Wagg 60, from Lynn, added: 'You're not getting what you pay for, we need a late train too, you can't go to see a show or anything.'

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: 'It is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year.

'Successive governments have instructed train companies every year to increase these regulated fares on average by more than inflation.

'In doing so, ministers have been seeking to cut the contribution from taxpayers towards the running costs of the railway and increase the share that comes from passengers.'

A survey by the government's Office of rail regulation, which analysed train companies' operating costs, found FCC spent 8.94p per kilometre for every passenger carried. The industry average was 11.53p.

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