SOME rail passengers in East Lancashire were hit with a higher than the national fare hike sparking calls for new trains to justify the price increase.

The costs of an adult Anytime Day Return from Colne, Burnley Central or Manchester Road to Preston has risen by 2.86 per cent from £10.50 to £10.80.

An adult Anytime Day Return from Clitheroe to Manchester has risen by 3.15 per cent from £12.70 to £13.10 and from Blackburn to Manchester by 3.39 per cent from £11.80 to £12.20.

This compares to inflation at 3.1 per cent.

Season tickets increased on average slightly less, with a weekly ticket from Colne, Nelson or Burnley to Preston going up £1 from £42 to £43.

The rises, which took effect yesterday, saw a Rosegrove to Blackburn ticket rise by 20 pence leaving a return ticket at £5.60.

Rail campaigner and Pendle Peer Tony Greaves said: “This fare increase would be alright if Northern Rail would invest in new rolling stock.

“They are talking about new services from Clitheroe through Blackburn to Manchester and from Burnley to Manchester, but we need new trains.

“When work on the Holme Tunnel in Cliviger is complete to reopen the Todmorden Curve in May, they say they have not trains till the end of the year. That is a scandal.

“We shouldn’t have to wait for 15th-hand rolling stock from elsewhere in the country.”

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “Our fares have risen by an average of 2.8 per cent, 10p to 20p per single journey and will go towards meeting the costs of providing our services and funding further improvements for our customers.

“Money raised through fares goes on to invest in stations, trains and services.”

Blackburn to Preston season tickets will now cost £24.40 for seven days, £93.70 for a month and £976 for a year.

A Clitheroe to Manchester weekly ticket rises to £46.20 from £44.80 and a Blackburn to Manchester seven-day pass to £43.70 from £42.40.

The new cost of a Burnley to Blackburn yearly ticket is £1,008 and a Blackburn to Manchester 12 month season £1,748.00.

A Reading to London yearly season ticket now costs more than £5,000 a year.