Village train journeys come at a premium

King's Sutton station
King's Sutton station

Travelling from King’s Sutton to London? Then you will have to pay £16.50 more than if you were travelling from Banbury – even though it is closer.

King’s Sutton residents are furious after realising train provider Chiltern Railways charges £28.80 for a single off-peak journey from the village to London, compared to £12 from Banbury to the capital on the very same train.

Parish councillor David Bridson said: “Why should people suffer if they want to travel from King’s Sutton? What Chiltern is effectively doing is discouraging travellers from King’s Sutton.”

Mr Bridson added he also believed those who buy a Banbury ticket but get on at King’s Sutton could end up having to pay the full fare anyway.

He said another issue is that the platform is simply too short and added: “Chiltern is seeking to modify its franchise to run longer trains and the platforms at Bicester North and Haddenham and Thame are being extended accordingly. This fits in with the policies of the present and previous governments to favour longer and faster trains between major destinations.

“The long-term aim, I’m sure, is to get rid of the station altogether – you can’t help but feel that they’ve got it in for us.”

Sally Gillespie, a spokesman for Chiltern Railways, said flexible fares from both Banbury and King’s Sutton to London are the same price at £28.80 but that advance fares, starting from £6, are only available from Banbury.

She said: “Although advance tickets are intended to be used only between the origin and destination stations shown on the ticket, there may be occasions where a passenger joins the correct train but at a later station, or alights earlier than the indicated destination.

“Although this is not strictly in accordance with the rules, the Rail Industry has agreed that in such cases, no additional fare should be charged unless there is clear evidence of intent to try to avoid a higher fare.”

She said there are no plans to lengthen platforms at the station but that Chiltern is in discussions with Northamptonshire County Council and South Northamptonshire Council to improve the parking at the station.

Chiltern is currently making changes that will allow advance fares to be introduced from King’s Sutton in January 2015.