How rail fares have soared above inflation Graphic: BBC

The high cost of rail fares looks like becoming a major issue in next year’s general election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has repeated an earlier pledge that, if elected, he would put a cap on fare rises.

Based on current inflation figures, rail fares could go up by 5.6% in the new year, unless the Government changes its policy of allowing train operators to charge 1% or 2% more than the retail price index.

Mr Miliband said hard-pressed commuters are already struggling with rail fares increasing by 20% since the coalition government came to power in 2010.

He said rail companies should not be allowed to increase fares by more than RPI.

He made his announcement on a visit to Hastings, a marginal constituency on Labour’s target list to win.

Rail fares in the north of England could double to pay for investment in northern rail projects and to end regional variations in ticket prices, according to a Daily Express report on 20 July 2014.

Bradford Rail Users' Group spokesman James Vasey told the Craven Herald: “If they push up fares in the North, then they need to triple investment. It will also move people back into cars and make congestion worse.”

Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail Users' Group, told the paper: "This is a big concern. The quality of the service is rubbish compared to London.

"Any changes would lead to enormous traffic issues, bad enough as it is in Saltaire at the moment. We need to keep the cars out of the city centre.”

Profits and fares: Guardian Money