By Kris Jepson

Commuters in the North East of England have expressed their frustration at rail fare rises averaging 3.1 per cent nationally.

The service which operates in the Tyne Tees region, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has increased its ticket fares by 3.4 per cent.

One rail user at Newcastle Central told ITV News "I think that’s really sad because my son-in-law actually travels everyday to York from Chester-le-Street and that’s obviously going to impound on his income."

Another said "it’s sad really that you’ve got to pay more, really, because you’re not getting any better service."

A man waiting for his train said "I think it’s outrageous, given the fact that the trains don’t run very reliably."

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Last year saw a number of issues which blighted the rail network, caused by new timetables, strikes, extreme weather and signal failures.

The group representing LNER and other rail companies said the decision to raise prices was not taken lightly.

We know that we’ve got to up our game. We’ve got to regain the trust of many of our passengers and that’s why we’re explaining where the money that they’re spending on their tickets is going to and that is a massive programme of investment, the biggest since the Victorian era, seven thousand new carriages are going to be on the track by 2021 and that will underpin an extra 6.400 services.

Robert Nisbet, The Rail Delivery Group
Fare rises Credit: ITV News

Middlesbrough MP and Shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald MP, said the fare increases are an "affront" to every person that uses the network.

It's really quite ridiculous that with falling performances they’re expected to pay even more, and a 36 per cent hike in rail fares since 2010 is simply unacceptable. Their (commuters') wages have not increased at the same rate. These increases compared to wages are about two-and-a-half times that rate.

Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Transport Secretary
Fare rises Credit: ITV News

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, argued that the government has made a "record investment" in the rail industry, which explains where much of the money from ticketing goes.

We’ve got a huge programme of investment. Some things worked. Across the Christmas period, for example, we’ve had a massive programme of investment across the country, all projects completed on time, successfully. Some things have gone badly wrong, I absolutely accept that, it's not good enough and we’re making big changes in Network Rail.

Chris Grayling MP, Transport Secretary