Norwich train passengers spared from biggest ticket price hikes

Rail passengers travelling from Norwich to London will be spared from the biggest fare hikes of up to 6pc.

National Express East Anglia revealed today Norwich to London Liverpool Street season tickets will increase by 5.5pc from �6,540 to �6,900 after January 2 - lower than the firm's average increase across its services of 5.8pc.

But the national average hike for all fares will be 5.9 pc, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc).

East Midlands Trains confirmed the average fare on its network will increase by 5.7pc. The company also pledged to offer more discounted tickets on the Liverpool to Norwich line.

But people travelling from King's Lynn to London will endure a 5.95pc hike on 12-month season tickets, from �4,700 to �4,980.

Service operator First Capital Connect's average increase is 5.7pc, although tickets can be bought at 2011 prices until January 1.

The firm also announced yesterday super off-peak prices have been frozen to encourage more leisure trips.

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A First Capital Connect spokesman said: 'In these difficult times, we have minimised price rises across the board to limit the impact of regulated fares increases on our customers.'

It was initially feared prices would increase by up to 8pc.

This was after the government changed the formula of how fare increases were calculated from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation rate plus 1pc, to the RPI inflation rate plus 3pc.

The RPI rate is 5.2pc. But Chancellor George Osborne capped fare increases at 6pc last month.

Atoc said 48p of every �1 income received by train operators goes to pay Network Rail and other infrastructure costs.

A further 17p contributes toward staff costs, 17p on miscellaneous costs including train maintenance, 11p on leasing trains, 4p on fuel or energy and 3p is profit.

Michael Roberts, Atoc chief executive, said: 'Money raised through fares helps pay for new trains, faster services and better stations.

'The long-standing government approach to sustaining rail investment is to cut the contribution from taxpayers and increase the share paid for by passengers.'