MSE News

Rail fares in England to rise by up to 4.9% in March – here's what you need to know

Rail fares in England will rise by up to 4.9% next year, the Government has announced. The increases will come into effect on 3 March 2024.

Annual increases to 'regulated' rail fares, such as season tickets and off-peak tickets, are usually linked to the previous July's retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, which for 2023 stood at 9%.

However, earlier this year the Department for Transport (DfT) said rail fares for 2024 would rise by a lower amount, and it has now confirmed the increases will be capped at 4.9% instead.

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

What are regulated rail 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.

The Scottish Government announced on Wednesday 20 December that all ScotRail fares will rise by 8.7% from 1 April 2024.

The Northern Irish and Welsh Governments both told us they are yet to announce their plans for next year's rail fares.

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.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!