RAIL passengers across Wiltshire are set to face the biggest fare hike in five years, train companies have announced.

From January 2, 2018, a 12-month season ticket from Chippenham to London Paddington will rise 3.6 per cent, from £9,384, to £9,721 – a £337 rise.

At present, an off-peak day single between the two stops costs £30.40, but that would rise to £31.49 next month.

However, as super off-peak and peak journeys will rise by 3.1 per cent, the current peak journey of £83 from Chippenham to London Paddington would climb to £85.57.

Commuters who travel from Chippenham to Bath will see the cost of an annual season ticket jump by £40.75, a 3.6 per cent rise, to £1,172.75.

Season tickets and off-peak journeys will rise 3.6 per cent but super off-peak and peak will rise by 3.1 per cent.

Graham Ellis, of TransWilts Rail Group, said that it was not a great surprise that the prices were going up.

“This news is like a chill wind blowing down the platform,” he said.

“Although a lot of people are shocked and horrified by this, it was actually announced back in August. A price hike is never a good thing, however.

“It is not a huge surprise, what with all the modernisation works going on.

“People obviously notice when fares go up, but very little, if anything, is said when prices go down.

“For instance the

Trowbridge to Swindon fare went down significantly in 2013, but that is never talked about.

“People will call for the railways to be nationalised and there are both positive and negative points to that.

“It is a complex issue.”

Rail companies said that the average rise in ticket prices across the country was 3.4 per cent – the biggest price hike since January 2013.

The rise was below the national inflation rate of four per cent and the government regulator’s fare rise cap of 3.6 per cent, the Rail Delivery Group said.

“The money raised by Government through fares ensures investment in more trains, better stations and faster services,” said a spokesman for GWR.

“Since 2004 the Government has sought to sustain investment in the railways by reducing the amount that taxpayers contribute and requiring passengers to pay a greater share.

“This investment is already providing new trains on the Great Western.”