Union activists have staged a protest outside the Conservative Party conference to highlight a huge rise in rail fares since the industry was privatised.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association said fares have increased by up to 201% since the mid-1990s - three times more than inflation.
The union demonstrated outside the Manchester conference, accusing the Conservatives of giving rail firms a "licence to print money" at the expense of passengers.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said the rise in rail fares had been "little more than daylight robbery".
He added: "It's cheaper to fly to Paris from Manchester than get a train to London. That is the economics of the madhouse."
A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "The TSSA is trying to take people for a ride. If its figures bore any resemblance to what most people actually pay, train companies would not be carrying double the number of passengers that they were 15 years ago.
"By offering a range of tickets to suit all pockets, operators have helped attract record numbers of passengers to the railway, generating growth which significantly outstrips other publicly-run railways in Europe."