New sweeping reforms are set to overhaul Britain’s ‘complicated’ rail system as a new public sector body named Great British Railways will be created.

Great British Railways (GBR) will own and manage rail infrastructure, issue contracts to private firms to run trains, set most fares and timetables, and sell tickets.

Local campaigners have reacted to the shake-up of the rail industry and said that new rail fares could penalise many long-distance commuters.

Campaigners are disappointed by plans for a new ticket for commuters which would give an across-the-board 15 per cent discount for regular travellers.

Railfuture director Neil Middleton is leading the campaign for better fares for part-time commuters. He said: “A 15 per cent discount sounds good, but it means that many longer distance travellers who only commute a few days a week won’t save any money at all.

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“Traditional season tickets give larger discounts for longer distance commuting and it could still work out cheaper to get a five-days-a-week season ticket and use it only for three, than to buy these new tickets.”

Media spokesman for the Thames Valley branch of Railfuture, Dave Richardson said: “We do not expect to see any change to rail services in the near future. But the rail industry does seem to be working on a more fixable season ticket.

“Many companies are not sending people back five times a week and flexible working seems to be coming in for good. We would like to see the rail industry react to this new flexible working with a flexible season ticket.”

Mr Richardson also highlighted the need for more reassurance from train operators and the Government to get more people feeling confident enough to travel by train again as the pandemic eases.

He is concerned that if people do not start travelling in large numbers, services will be cut back.