THE battle of the trains and cars continues as new research has claimed that it is cheaper to travel by road than by rail.

The research, which comes from, shows that travelling by train to and from Oxford can be up to seven times more expensive than driving.

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It found that a peak time return from Oxford to Newcastle costs £326.40 – seven times the £46.17 petrol bill, while journeys between Oxford and other cities and towns cost between £142 and £280 more by rail than road at both peak and off-peak times. conducted their research by looking at the fuel cost for 20 journeys travelling in Britain’s best-selling cars, the petrol Ford Fiesta and the diesel Volkswagen Golf.

They were then compared with the cost of a peak return rail ticket, booked a day in advance, leaving at around 8am and returning at a similar time the following day.

They found that a peak ticket from Oxford to Manchester costs £170.20 and £27.88 by car which is over six times more expensive to travel by car.

An off-peak ticket from Oxford to Manchester costs £80.55 and £27.88 in petrol making a difference of £52.67.

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With train operators issuing high fares, people may ditch the train for their cars which could lead to a negative effect on the environment.

Labour’s executive board member for a safer and greener environment, Councillor Tom Hayes, says encouraging drivers to convert to electric cars is a way to tackle the problem.

He said: "Our first-order priority must be getting older, more polluting vehicles off our roads to instantly slash the emissions that hurt the health of our citizens...That’s why the City Council is installing hundreds of charging points for electric vehicles."

Despite the average price of petrol rocketing by 5.44p a litre in April, making it the second worst monthly rise since 2000, travelling by train is still more expensive.

But Oxford's new mayor, Councillor Craig Simmons, who represents the Green Party, says other expenses that come with owning a car are not taken into consideration.

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He said: “Cost is a problem when trying to encourage rail use. The answer is to subsidise rail and not to subsidise roads.

“The figures given by are also misleading as they don’t take into account the full cost of car ownership, such as maintenance, depreciation etc.”

Crosscountry, the train operator that provides the service from Oxford to Manchester and Newcastle failed to comment.