Penalty fares rise from 20 to 100 from today

Penalty ++ The amount of a penalty fare on trains in England has gone up from £20 to £100 from this morning. The government says more than £200 million is lost through fraudulent travel each year, but critics say faulty ticket machines and long queues at booking offices sometimes tempt people to take the risk.

Landslip ++ A limited service has been restored past the site of the landslip at Hook which damaged the South Western Main Line on the London side of Basingstoke just over a week ago. South Western Railway said emergency repairs by Network Rail had made some improvements possible, and that a limited service is being restored to Hook, Winchfield, and Fleet. However trains from London will still not be able to call at Hook.

New trains ++ The first of the Stadler-built Class 777 trains for Merseyrail is making its inaugural trip this morning from Liverpool Central to Kirkby. The fleet of 53 trains will replace units built by British Rail Engineering more than 40 years ago. Seven of the new trains will be able to run on batteries, to cover the non-electrified section between Kirkby and Headbolt Lane which is set to open in the spring.

Rabbit ++ Great Western Railway hopped into the year of the Rabbit on Saturday with a special Chinese New Year celebration at Reading. Passengers were treated to a performance by 30 dancers from South Gloucestershire Chinese Association, which celebrated the start of the Chinese New Year yesterday. The dance has a history of more than 2,000 years and is believed to bring good fortune.

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