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Protest to keep East Coast rail services public

East Coast train Credit: PA

There will be a demonstration at Doncaster railway station today in support of the Keep East Coast Public campaign.

Today has been designated as a National Day of Action across the stations on East Coast Trains's route from London to Edinburgh, a number of which are in Yorkshire.

It is currently run by the government on a not-for-profit basis after private owners pulled out in 2009. But the bidding process for a new contract is now underway.

The government says its running of the franchise was always a temporary measure. Campaigners claim it has been successful, both financially and in terms of customer satisfaction, so should remain in public ownership.

Delays continue after man hit by train

Trains are still delayed after a National Rail member of staff was hit by a train at Newark North Gate station earlier today. He suffered serious head injuries and was flown to hospital.

An investigation into the incident is expected to begin.

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Rail passengers paying more than £9,000 for a ticket

Some rail passengers said they were now paying almost £10,000 a year on their season ticket, in response to a question from ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg on Twitter:

Rail increases explained

The Rail Delivery Group - responsible for policy formulation for the rail industry - says although some ticket prices will rise on average by 3.1 percent, the overall figure is 2.8 per cent.

The 3.1 per cent figure takes into account fares described as "regulated" - these are annual season tickets and inter-city tickets.

However, taking into account "unregulated" fares - tickets with prices set by train operating companies, including first class and advance purchase fares - the overall rise would be 2.8 per cent.

“We strongly support the Government’s decision to limit the average increase in Season ticket prices this year. This, combined with the determination of train companies to continue attracting passengers, means the average increase across all fares is 2.8%, the lowest in four years. To help the Government hold down fares in future, the rail industry is working hard to get more for every pound it spends.

“This year and in coming years, passengers across the country will continue to benefit from billions of pounds spent on improving services. As well as introducing more carriages, work will proceed on major projects like the new Birmingham New Street station and thousands of smaller, less visible schemes to improve the railway.”

– Michael Roberts, director general, Rail Delivery Group
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Rail fares: Where does the money go?

Train companies retain an average of just 3p from every pound paid for rail tickets, with the vast majority of revenue going on maintenance, staff costs and investment in the rail network, according to figures released by the industry association the Rail Delivery Group:

On average, train companies make a 3p profit in every pound on rail tickets sold. Credit: railfares2014.com/RDG

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Minister: 'Nonsense' that railways seen as a 'cash cow'

Money from rail fares went directly back into the railways, Stephen Hammond claimed. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

The belief the Government sees the railways as a "cash cow" was "just a nonsense", according to a transport minister.

In an interview with Daybreak, Stephen Hammond defended rail operators in the face of fare rises, claiming companies like First Great Western and Southern Railway only make "three pence in every pound".

He also claimed "much of the fares passengers pay" go directly back into the railways and are being used to fund projects to tackle overcrowding.

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Labour 'looking at better railway system for taxpayers'

Labour's Mary Creagh was critical of the amount of rail franchises which had collapsed. Credit: DaybreakITV

The shadow transport secretary has refused to rule out renationalising Britain's railways in a bid to lower ticket fares and provide a better service.

Mary Creagh told Daybreak she was "looking at a better system that provides value for money for the taxpayer" but would not elaborate beyond that.

Despite numerous questions on whether to bring the railways back under government control, she could only would say "we need to look at the laws governing the railways," as those had not been changed since 1993, when the network was first privatised.

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Rail passengers: We're not getting value for money

Many passengers took a poor view of rail fare increases today as annual season tickets rose by an average of 3.1 percent.

Simon Jones, who was travelling to Newcastle from London King's Cross this morning, said:

It's a lot of money for a poor service. Fares are pretty high. My salary has just gone up 1 percent but fares are rising around 3 percent. There are delays on practically every day.

– Simon Jones

Ben James, who was also travelling from London to the north-east, said:

We're not really getting value for money. At Clapham Junction (in south London) you can hardly get on a train.

– Ben James

Andy Stewart on the ITV News Facebook page said fail fares were a "rip-off":

Train fares are a total rip-off! It's cheaper to fly from Edinburgh to London, allowing for getting out to the airports.

– Andy Stewart
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Government 'understands concerns' over rail fares

The Government insisted that it understands passengers concerns over the cost of rail fares as annual season tickets rose by 3.1 per cent.

Campaign groups have complained about the increase, with the Campaign for Better Transport saying that fares are rising three times faster than wages.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The Government understands concerns rail passengers have about the costs of fares and the impact they have on household budgets.

Government has insisted that it understands concerns over the cost of rail travel. Credit: PA Wire

"That is why next year, for the first time in a decade, regulated fares will not rise on average by more than the rate of inflation, offering relief for families and the hard-working people.

"As a result of the economic policies that this government has put in place, the most recent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility are that by around 2015, fares will be rising in line with wages and salaries."

The spokesman insisted that the fares passengers pay will drive the "biggest programme of rail modernisation ever" resulting in new state-of-the-art trains, better stations and shorter journey times.

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