UK rail network
England's rail passengers are due a 4.1% increase in fares from January 2014 (Reuters)

As sure as the moon waxes and wanes, the tides wash in and out, and the sun dawns and sets, Britain's rail fares rise every year, much to the dismay and anger of many passengers.

Sweaty and morose commuters are often packed tight into metal carriages, like tinned hot dogs, and pay thousands of pounds a year on ever-increasing fares for the briney pleasure.

Proponents of the privatisation of the UK rail network say that while there are problems, and more investment is needed, passengers have never had it so good. Surveys show satisfaction at record highs, while trains are more efficient and punctual than when state-owned under British Rail.

Critics say there is no argument for allowing private firms to siphon off profit from running a network that desperately needs as much investment and updating as it can get.

For better or worse than when we had British Rail, here are some interesting figures from our once world-leading railway system.


The annual rise in regulated rail fares - including season tickets - due in January 2014 in England. A steep increase when you consider pay growth has stuck stubbornly below the 2% mark in recent months.


How much regulated fares will have risen since 2008 when 2014's increase comes into effect.


The amount of public money poured into the UK rail industry during 2011/12 through subsidies and infrastructure investment, according to figures from the House of Commons library.


Total public money pumped into the British rail industry in the decade to 2012.


Total private investment in UK railways from 2006 to 2013, adjusted for 2012/13 prices and excluding payments to Network Rail which runs the infrastructure.


Train companies operating in the UK.


Operating profit made by train operating companies across the country, 90% of which was paid out to shareholders, according to The Great Train Robbery report by the Trades Union Congress.


Passenger journeys on the UK rail network during 2011/12, says the Office for Rail Regulation, a 6% annual increase and the highest number since records began.


Portion of passengers eligible to compensation because of delays or disruption to their journeys but who did not claim in 2013, according to a survey by Passenger Focus.


Extra public investment in upgrading the UK's Victorian rail infrastructure, on top of £5.2bn already planned, announced by the coalition government, such as electrifying railways in the north of England and in Wales.


The price of an annual season ticket on one 50-mile line between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street, excluding travel on the capital's transport system such as the Underground, used by thousands of commuters into the city.


Percentage of the British public who want the railways to be fully renationalised, according to a poll by GfKNOP. 28% disagreed and 2% had no opinion either way.