Rail passengers saw insult piled on injury today when travel chaos hit the network on the first day of inflation-busting fare rises.
Commuters returning after the festive break found themselves forking out an average 4.2 per cent more for their season tickets - meaning some fares have soared 50 per cent in 10 years.
The new year brought old problems during the rush-hour. Greater Anglia cancelled some trains and Southern and Southeastern services were disrupted.
Buses had to replace trains between Bourne End and Maidenhead in Berkshire and between Sudbury and Marks Tey in East Anglia.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle joined a protest against the fare rises at King's Cross station in London organised by rail union TSSA.
Ms Eagle said: "People are paying more for a worse service."
She said the government had "caved in" to train companies by allowing some regulated fares - which include season tickets - to rise by more than 4.2 per cent as long as the overall average was maintained.
A Leeds to Wakefield season ticket went up 6.16 per cent and a Ludlow to Hereford season ticket rose 5.28 per cent.
Kent commuters were hit hard as season tickets to London from Ramsgate, Folkestone, Canterbury, Deal and Dover went up by around 4.8 per cent.
New TUC leader Frances O'Grady said: "At a time when real wages are falling and household budgets are being squeezed, rail travellers are being forced to endure yet another year of inflation-busting fare increases."
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph said: "The impact of successive government's policies on rail fares is appalling.
"It's truly shocking that we have deliberately made getting the train to work an extravagance."
Rail Minister Norman Baker insisted the rises were "not nearly as expensive as has been presented."
Some of the morning's travel problems are likely to persist throughout the week.
London's Cannon Street was hit by over-running engineering work which will affect services Thursday and Friday.
Signalling problems caused delays between Southampton Central and Fareham in Hampshire and morning-long hold-ups between Carlisle and Whitehaven in Cumbria.
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