An overhaul of the UK's rail ticketing system is to be trialled which aims to make it easier for people to buy cheaper fares. Some fares for long, connecting journeys will be scrapped in favour of cheaper alternative tickets as part of a bid to stop the need for split ticketing to save money.

Single-leg pricing will be introduced so passengers will be aware if it would be better buying two single tickets or a return. There are also plans to make ticket-vending machines more user-friendly.

The trials, which will be introduced on CrossCountry, Virgin Trains' East and West Coast services and East Midlands, are due to start in May.

Train companies have previously claimed that they have been prevented from being more flexible in how they offer available tickets because of government rules covering rail fares.

Jacqueline Starr, director of customer experience at Rail Delivery Group, said: "We know customers can find it hard to get the right ticket for their journey due to complex rules and regulations built up by governments over decades.

"There are more than 16 million different train fares, many of which nobody has ever bought. This also makes it more difficult to give passengers the right, simple options on ticket machines.

"Working with government, we are determined to overhaul the system to cut out red tape, jargon and complication to make it easier for customers to buy fares they can trust, including from ticket machines."

Rail minister Paul Maynard added: "Rail passengers must be able to trust that they are getting the best possible deal every time they travel, and we are working closely with industry on a set of actions to improve fares and ticketing for passengers over the next 12 months.

"The ticket-buying experience is all too often complicated and hard to navigate and I welcome this initiative. We want a more modern and passenger-focused fares and ticketing system which takes advantage of all the benefits of new technology."