RAIL travellers have criticised Virgin Trains for ‘rip-off’ price rises at Oxenholme railway station car park.

The company has increased weekday charges from £9 to £12, a rise of 33 per cent - while the price of weekend day tickets is up by 66 per cent, from £3 to £5.


Julian Rayner, estates director at Windermere-based kitchenware company Lakeland, told the Gazette: “What company thinks it can justify 33 per cent price increases?”

The businessman described the rises as “hardly in line with inflation, nor likely to to encourage people to use the facilities”, adding: “What happened to the old Virgin brand that used to reduce costs for consumers, not exploit a monopoly with an increase?”

Mr Rayner said Virgin Trains claimed it had given adequate notice about the changes, but he said the length of time did not “justify such a significant increase”.

Gazette reader Max Craghill said that perhaps it was time Virgin lost its franchise to operate the West Coast main line, while another reader described the parking price hikes as a ‘rip-off’.

Virgin Trains this week defended its decision, telling the Gazette: “Our car parks have remained at a heavily discounted rate over the last few years and we have decided to change our pricing to make it consistent with other car parks on the line.

“Regular rail users, who hold a season ticket, can receive a discount on parking.”

An annual season ticket is £1,872 for non-rail customers and £1,200 for holders of rail season tickets.

Virgin Trains’ West Coast main line franchise is to expire in 2018. The Government is expected to invite tenders for a new rail franchise to cover the line later this year.

- Railway station car parks at Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands, Ulverston, Windermere and Barrow-in-Furness have earned an accreditation for safety.

Train operator Northern says that the national Park Mark status means car parks have been independently assessed by police specialists and shown to have strong management practices and security measures to actively reduce crime, helping to give customers peace of mind for themselves and their vehicles.