Rail fares will be increasing by their largest level in five years from tomorrow but weary passengers will have little expectation of improved services to match their higher ticket prices.
New research has revealed that Britain’s “clapped-out” trains are the oldest since records began.
The average age of 21.1 years is older than at any point in publicly available records and 60 per cent older than in 2006.
Among the worst offenders is Northern with an average age of 28 years for its rolling stock which includes the infamous Pacer trains that were built in the 1980s using bus parts and only intended as a short-term solution but continue to rattle around much of Yorkshire to this day.
There have been repeated promises by train operators of refurbished and new stock, but it is now the time to deliver on those promises and bring standards up to scratch.
Not all ageing trains need to be sent to the scrapyard but refurbishment is required on those that are deemed fit to continue to operate.
The situation is even more galling when Office of Rail and Road statistics show that £4.2 billion of taxpayers’ cash went to the rail industry in 2016/17 to help keep the network running. Taking inflation into account, this is down almost 13 per cent on the previous year but more than twice as much as British Rail used to get before privatisation.
With fares rising by an average 3.4 per cent tomorrow as annual inflation rises kick in, journeys in faster, more comfortable and reliable modern trains should be the least for passengers to expect.