Protests were held outside two train stations this week in response to the rail fare hikes which came into force on January 2.

Members of the Hertsmere Labour party rallied outside Elstree & Borehamwood train station, as well as in Radlett, as fares rose by around 3.1 per cent.

The cost of many rail season tickets has risen more by more than £100, and comes following a year of chaos on the railways – particularly commuters in Hertsmere who use the Thameslink line after May’s timetable fiasco.

Party leader Cllr Jeremy Newmark was joined by fellow councillors Richard and Rebecca Butler, who campaigned alongside Labour activists Elsa Reyes and Dan Ozarow, who will be standing as candidates during May’s borough elections.

Borehamwood Times:

Cllr Newmark said: "Our Labour team started the year talking to commuters in Borehamwood and Radlett because they are frustrated at the new year fare increases. People are right to be angry that fares have gone up despite last summer's mayhem on our Thameslink line.

“Services remain below promised levels, trains are overcrowded and cancellations are a regular occurrence. People were keen to hear about Labour's alternative plans for publicly owned railways which will mean capped fares, better, more reliable services and greater investment in our railways."

Labour member of European Parliament Alex Mayer added: “Brits spend 55p per mile travelling by rail and the UK needs to learn from its European counterparts. It costs half that in Ireland at 27p and Belgium at 24p, while German passengers pay just 19p a mile.

“Give commuters a break. Surely after the delays, cancellations and overcrowding on the railways last year, the government should not be allowing fares to increase faster than many people’s wages. We need to be encouraging people onto trains not putting obstacles in the way.”

Borehamwood Times:

Cllr Richard Butler

The 3.1 per cent average fare increase outpaces the 2.6 per cent rise in the average wage in 2018.

But costs will come down for 16 and 17-year-olds, who are to be given half-price travel on all trains from September.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has accused trade unions of driving the increase in rail fares.

Mr Grayling said unions had demanded "higher pay rises than anyone else" and threatened strikes if they did not get them.