Britain is on the verge of a "rail fares revolution" that could enable passengers to save millions of pounds on published ticket prices for the first time.
Under an agreement reached between ministers and train operating companies, comprehensive ticket price data from across the UK's railway network is to be made available for free within the next few months.
The new information will allow customers travelling on some routes to make savings of more than 30 per cent on current ticket prices - without passengers needing to change the train they were intending to take. A journey from Birmingham to Edinburgh taken yesterday, for example, would be almost 40 cheaper.
The Independent understands that a secret report for the Government by the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) estimated that the total potential saving to passengers could be in the "high tens of millions of pounds".
It will go some way to compensate passengers who face rail fare rises of 4 per cent next year.
Under current rules, train companies are not obliged to publicise the cheapest way of getting from one destination to another - only the most direct. But because of the UK's complex fares structure, there are many instances where passengers can save money on the same journey simply by "splitting" their ticket.
For example, National Rail Enquiries was yesterday quoting a price of 62 for a single journey from Glasgow to Manchester departing at 12.40pm.
However, a customer taking exactly the same trains, could save 18.30 if they bought two separate tickets - one from Glasgow to Oxenholme in the Lake District (26.50) and another from Oxenholme to Manchester (17.20) at a total cost of 43.70. The passenger would not have to get …