Annual season ticket between Brighton and London to rise by £88 / Getty Images

Annual season ticket between Brighton and London to rise by £88

To the delight of UK’s domestic airlines - for whom child fares are set to fall next May - rail fares in Britain will rise again on 4 January.

Regulated prices, covering anytime singles, off-peak returns and season tickets, will increase by an average of 2.5 per cent. 

A London to Manchester anytime single rises by £4 to £164.50, while the price of an annual season ticket between Brighton and London goes up by £88 a year to £3,728. Between Edinburgh and Cardiff, an off-peak return increases by £4.10 to £171.40. 

At present travellers meet about three fifths of the cost of the railway. Successive governments have sought to reduce taxpayer subsidies by pegging the annual fare increase to the prevailing inflation rate each July, plus one per cent. But the government has now capped the impending rise at RPI.

Non-regulated tickets, such as advance and super off-peak, will rise less steeply. The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operators, calculates the overall increase in fares as 2.2 per cent - the lowest for five years.

The group's director general Michael Roberts said: “For every pound spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs, while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies.”

The announcement comes just two days after the Chancellor said he would scrap Air Passenger Duty for under-12s from 1 May next year. As a result, a family of four flying within the UK will pay £52 less for their return flights. Some families, especially on Anglo-Scottish routes, may switch from rail to air despite the heavier toll on the environment.

In Scotland, off-peak rail fares remain frozen at 2013 levels.