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Unions: 'Commuters will feel the pinch' of fare increase

With an increase in rail fares from tomorrow, rail unions have warned about the high cost of rail travel in the UK compared with the rest of Europe.

Jason Torrance, policy director of sustainable transport organisation Sustrans, said:

The Chancellor's move to bring an end to the inflation-busting fare rises we've seen over the last decade shows a recognition that rising transport costs are a barrier to economic recovery.

But commuters will still feel the pinch this new year because salaries aren't increasing by anywhere near the level of inflation. If transport remains so prohibitively expensive, we will continue to restrict travel choices and opportunities to access essential services and employment.

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Increase in rail fares for commuters from tomorrow

Passengers in the Midlands returning to work after the festive break face an increase in rail fares tomorrow.

A season ticket from Birmingham to London has increased by £200 Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

In the Chancellor's Autumn Statement last month, George Osbourne announced that train companies would be able to put up prices by a maximum of 3.1%.

A season ticket from Birmingham to London has increased by £200, and East Midlands Trains have put prices up by an average of 2.6%, an extra thirty six pence on a single journey.

New steam engine 'blessed' at Arboretum

The 'blessing' ceremony Credit: ITV News Central

'The Unknown Warrior', an LMS Patriot class steam locomotive under construction as a memorial to the fallen, has been 'blessed' at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Members of the Army, Navy and RAF were present, alongside the company behind the engine, organisers of the Warley National Model Railway exhibition, and rail enthusiasts from the general public.

The locomotive in front of the memorial Credit: ITV News Central

'The Unknown Warrior' arrives in the Midlands

A steam locomotive, mostly built in the Midlands, has arrived at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to be dedicated.

The engine, named 'The Unknown Warrior', has still not been completed, but it has travelled on a lorry from Wales, where it was assembled.

'The Unknown Warrior' arriving at the ceremony Credit: ITV News Central

The locomotive is to be the only LMS Patriot class engine in existence, after none of the originals was saved.

It is now to travel to Birmingham's NEC, to take centre stage at this weekend's Warley National Model Railway Exhibition.

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  1. Alison Mackenzie

Benefits for HS2 dwindling say MPs - full report

In a scathing attack MPs have criticised the government's plans for HS2 - the High speed rail line linking the East Midlands with London and the North.

The reports findings say that as the costs continue to spiral the proposed economic benefits for cities like Nottingham, Derby and Leicester are fading. Our political correspondent Alison Mackenzie reports.

Margaret Hodge: 'HS2 economic justification is very questionable'

Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, has said the economic justification for HS2 is "very questionable".

It comes as the Committee of Public Accounts issued a withering assessment of the HS2 high-speed rail project, warning costs were spiralling whilst benefits were dwindling.

The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said the case for the £50 billion project was "absolutely clear," as rail routes would be "overwhelmed" by rising passenger numbers.

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