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Complaints over 'Rambler' train prices
A RAIL campaigner has claimed that the pricing structure for a new East Lancashire weekend service is nothing short of ‘scandalous’.
From Sunday, the Ribble Valley Rambler service will run from Blackburn and Clitheroe to Hellifield, the first time the journey has been undertaken during the autumn and winter months for more than 50 years.
But Peter Brice, one of the founders of Ribble Valley Rail, believes the fares announced for the route will prove a huge turn-off for travellers.
It costs £4.20 return for the nine-mile journey from Blackburn to Clitheroe - but the cost of going another 12 miles or so to Hellifield brings the ticket price to £11.
Mr Brice said: “The pricing structure is just scandalous. It is almost as if they are setting up this service to fail.
“The cost of fares is supposed to go proportionately downwards for longer journeys so this is very difficult to understand.
“And the rambler service is popular with walkers during the summer months but what is there to do in Hellifield in November and December?
“It would make more sense for them to run a connecting service to Skipton, so people could do their Christmas shopping or travel home for the holidays.”
But rail bosses have insisted their £11 fare is actually a bargain, compared to the £32.80 weekday fare when people have to travel from Blackburn to Hellifield via Leeds.
A Northern Rail spokesman said: “The fares between Blackburn and Clitheroe are set and are classed as historic fares and so stay the same.
“There is no existing fare for Hellifield and so this was agreed with Lancashire County Council as a ‘reasonable fare to charge for this journey’.
“We have introduced fares routed via Clitheroe at a lower price than the current ‘any permitted’ fares to cater for the new direct Sunday service to Hellifield from Blackpool North.”
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