Train passengers could be paying an extra 13 per cent for travel if new fare increases kick in.

The Government’s new formula for setting fares, which includes season tickets and off-peak long distance travel, will start in January and could see certain journeys costing up to 13 per cent more.

The average fare increase on UK rail travel will be 8 per cent.

Commuters are already frustrated by 18 per cent rises in gas prices and 5 per cent food price increases.

Fair Fares Now campaign group protested today outside Waterloo, handing commuters leaflets and sporting brightly-coloured balloons and banners.

Gerry Doherty of the TSSA transport union said: “I come in from Northampton to London and my season ticket is already £4,400. Train companies do little to improve the lot of the passenger and are too busy making massive profits instead.”

Campaign for Better Transport's public transport campaigner Alexandra Woodsworth said: “Affordable rail travel is vital for passengers, for the environment and for our workforce.

“These massive fare rises will be a disaster for people already struggling with rising costs, and risk pricing those on lower incomes out of jobs in our major cities.

“Our demonstration is sending a clear message to Government that the country simply can't afford fare rises on such a punitive scale. It's time to burst the bubble on inflation-busting fare hikes.”

But transport secretary Philip Hammond defended the decision.

“We are now embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail investment for 100 years,” he said. “Delivering more than 2,700 new rail carriages, a £900m programme to electrify more lines and the vital Crossrail and Thameslink projects in London.

“Due to the scale of the deficit, these investments would simply have not been possible without the difficult decision we have made to increase rail fares. I know this decision has not been popular, but I hope passengers will appreciate the improvements it allows us to make.”