The Null Device

The end of cheap(ish) rail travel

Rail fares in Britain are set to treble, as the Blair government plans to phase out cheap "saver" tickets, giving the privatised rail operators freedom to set their own fares. Rail fares in Britain are already staggeringly high compared to continental Europe, and have a hard time competing with flights; for example, the cheapest flight from London Heathrow to Manchester is £59 — less than £2 more than the equivalent Saver rail fare. Once Saver fares are abolished, the standard fare will be £202, and even people who prefer catching the train (for aesthetic or ecological reasons, for example) will be deterred from doing so. Could this be the end of rail travel in Britain?

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