MSE News

Rail fares in England to rise by less than 9% in 2024 – here's what we know

Rail fares in England WON'T go up by 9% next year, the Government has announced. While the new fares are yet to be confirmed, any increase would come into force in March 2024.

Annual increases to 'regulated' rail fares, such as season tickets and off-peak tickets, are usually linked to July's retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was announced to be 9% today.

However, the Department for Transport has said that any rise in fares next year will be lower than that RPI figure – though it hasn't yet confirmed what the exact rise will be, or if fares might be frozen. 

Regulated fares in England were similarly capped at below last July's RPI rate of inflation in 2023, when the rise was 5.9%. Rail fare rises in England have taken place in March, rather than the usual January, since 2021. 

See our Cheap train tickets and Cheap season tickets guides for help finding hidden fares and cutting costs.

What are regulated fares?

The following table shows which tickets are generally regulated (and so are affected by today's announcement) and which aren't:

Regulated Unregulated
Season Tickets First Class 
Anytime Day Advance
Off-Peak Anytime
Super Off-Peak Off-Peak Day

Unregulated fares across the UK are set by the train companies themselves. We don't yet know if or how these prices might change in 2024.

Regulated rail fare rises are calculated differently across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Regulated rail fares are a devolved matter and it's up to the Department for Transport for England, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government and Translink of Northern Ireland to determine fares.

Fares for 2024 have not been fully confirmed, but here's what we know so far:

  • Northern Ireland: Any increase in regulated fares for 2024 is yet to be confirmed. Rail fares aren't linked to RPI. They are instead determined by Translink, the company that runs public transport in Northern Ireland.
  • Scotland: Regulated rail fares in Scotland increased below the RPI by 4.8% on 3 July 2023. They had previously been frozen since January 2022. However, the rise excludes season and flexi tickets, which stayed the same price.
  • Wales: Any increase in regulated fares for 2024 is yet to be confirmed.

How to cut rail travel costs

Here are just a few ways you can try to save on train travel:

  • Book 12 or more weeks in advance for the cheapest tickets. Most people know if you book early, you can get cheaper train tickets, yet often these vanish quicker than empty seats on a peak-time journey. To ensure a bargain, the key is to start looking for tickets about 12 weeks before you want to travel.
  • Buy a railcard if you spend over £90 a year. Railcards usually cut a third off the bill. You can buy them on the Railcard website and elsewhere, and most cost £30 a year, though you can sometimes get them even cheaper. So if you spend more than £90 a year on trains, a railcard is worth getting.
  • Consider a season ticket if you're a regular traveller. Regular rail users and commuters may be able to save with annual season tickets – National Rail's Season Ticket Calculator is a handy tool to help you work out the cost.

See our Cheap train tickets guide for more on how you can save.

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