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Rail fares: Anti-privatisation campaigners hit northern English stations to expose government-profiteer stitch-ups

Campaigners will move into action across northern England on Monday to expose government and privateer complicity in price hikes about to hit long-suffering rail passengers.

Franchises for two key rail operations — Northern Rail and TransPennine Express — are up for grabs. The two services cover the whole of northern England, from west to east coast, and from the Scottish borders to the north Midlands.

Rail union RMT says the redrafted franchises give privateers the go-ahead for higher fares, reduced services, staff cuts and ticket office closures, all aimed at increasing profits.

Even before the new franchises are awarded, privateer Northern Rail is axing off-peak lower fares, meaning 100 per cent increases on some journeys.

RMT has mobilised to alert tens of thousands of passengers to what is happening and what is to come, targeting dozens of railway stations with leaflets.

The next round of campaigning starts on Monday, coinciding with the latest fares hike. Stations being targeted next week are Hexham, Stockport, Wigan, Manchester Victoria, Liverpool Lime Street, Grimsby Town, Steeton and Silsden, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, Sheffield, Lancaster, Doncaster and Preston.

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