CAMPAIGNERS have been protesting against the national 3.2 per cent rise in rail fares which came into effect this week.

Members of North West Somerset Labour Party joined local trade unionists at Highbridge train station to hand out leaflets and speak to passengers about the state of the railways.

There were fellow protestors at Bridgwater and Weston-super-Mare as well as other stations along the Great Western Railway Line who argue that the best long term solution to train fire rises is the nationalisation of the railways.

Steve Vincent, campaigns officer for North West Somerset Labour Party, said: "We spoke with many disgruntled passengers throughout the morning and the issues raised were varied.

"As well as unreliability, price hikes and passenger overcrowding, the lack of ticket machine at Highbridge and Burnham can cause big problems further up the line with barriers in places like Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa resulting in lengthy queues for tickets upon arrival," Mr Vincent said

"The lack of local transport links, small shelters providing poor protection against the elements, awful access for disabled passengers and the limited parking available at Highbridge Station.

"The Labour Party promise to nationalise the railways which will see investment increase and ticket prices capped.

"Taking control back of the railways will ensure that rather than line the pockets of huge private operating multinational companies money will be reinvested in the system making train travel accessible and affordable for everyone."

However this week Transport Secretary Chris Grayling accused trade unions of driving the increase in rail fares, telling BBC Radio 4 Today’s programme that unions had demanded ‘higher wage rises than anyone else’ and threatened strikes if they did not get them.

In August the Government asked the train operators and Rail, Maritime and Transport Union(RMT) to use a different, lower inflation measure to set pay and fare increases, which the RMT opposed.

The rail industry says 98p of every pound spent on a ticket is invested back into the network.

The rise in England and Wales - the highest since January 2013 - will see the price of some annual season tickets go up by more than £100.

The Government also launched a discount railcard for 26 to 30 year-olds and said a railcard extending to 16 and 17 year-olds in full time education or training will be available in September.