NO one could say that 2018 has been a good year for rail passengers.

And it seems that every day there is more misery waiting around the corner.

The ongoing and subsequently delayed electrification works have led to weekends of replacement bus services and disruption.

The timetable catastrophe caused chaos across the country in the summer and now the ongoing industrial action is continuing to affect commuters as unions and rail operators clash over plans to remove guards from trains.

Compensation procedures have been drawn up to reimburse those affected by the timetable fiasco.

But as the new year approaches, commuters are facing a 3.2 per cent rise in the cost of fares. The annual price rise is met with a grimace by put-upon commuters, but this year it really does seem an affront.

There is growing support for fares to be frozen next year ­— a call being backed by Bolton North East MP Sir David Crausby.

He is calling on ministers to intervene and block the proposed increase in fares. When asked about a freeze by the Transport Select Committee in September, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling refused to answer.

The carrot on the stick for commuters has been the new, faster, electric trains which can carry more passengers. This will not be in the area until May next year, so a freeze on fares would be a welcome gift.