RAIL passengers were left queuing in the rain yesterday due to two broken ticket machines — a day after fare rises took effect.

Ticket prices rose by an average of 3.1 per cent on New Year’s Day, so commuters travelling between Chorley and Bolton at rush hour must now pay £6.30 a day — a rise of 20p a day or £64 a year.

Some passengers were already furious they are paying “more for less” as some services were withdrawn in early December as the line is being electrified.

And things got worse yesterday when two ticket machines broke down, resulting in a lengthy queue outside Bolton train station.

Some commuters were late for work as rail staff prevented people from going on to the platforms without tickets.

John Peterson, aged 37, of The Haulgh, said: “The irony isn’t lost on people that this happens on the same day that we cough-up extra for train tickets.

“They couldn’t even be bothered to put up a sign on the machines to say why they are not working. They treat us like cash cows.”

Sarah Hart, aged 24, of Burnden, said: “What a great start to 2014 this is. It’s happened before and the train company needs to sort it out.”

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “Unfortunately, the ticket vending machine at Bolton was out of order and we would like to apologise to any of our customers who were inconvenienced due to this.

“Our engineers were notified and tasked with rectifying the fault as soon as possible. Two service windows were available at the ticket office for customers to buy tickets.”

The machines were back in operation at noon.

On the subject of price rises, transport campaign group Railfuture said: “This latest fare rise comes after 10 years of inflation-busting fare increases, meaning that our trains are easily the most expensive in Europe.”

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “I think the public quite rightly thinks the Government should be doing more and we shall be pressing the train companies and Network Rail to provide value for money.”

The Bolton News launched the Let’s Get Back On Track has campaign calling for a dramatic improvement to the town’s “cattle truck” rail services.

To support the Let’s Get Back On Track campaign, sign the petition which is in our town centre offices and in shops and newsagents around Bolton.

Please return completed petitions to Let’s Get Back On Track, Editorial Department, The Bolton News, The Wellsprings, Civic Centre, Bolton, BL1 1AR.

If you would like to have a petition in your shop, call 01204 537239.