Passengers on Britain's flagship rail route are paying around three times more for fares than those charged comparatively by Belgian and French railways, figures from transport union the RMT revealed.

The East Coast route - run by GNER - also shows that travellers in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire pay more per mile for their tickets than in other areas of the London to Scotland route.

The RMT's figures follow its fears that GNER will raise fares following its new 10-year franchise deal which will mean the company paying £1.3 billion back to the Treasury.

The RMT compared the cost of single-fare tickets on sections of the East Coast line with comparable fares for those lengths of journey in Belgian and France.

The union said a standard one-way journey from London to York (187 miles) costs £70, while in Belgium such a journey would cost £22.68, while in France it is £22.25.

The study also revealed that GNER passengers travelling from London to York pay 38p a mile standard class and 63p a mile in first class on a return journey.

By comparison, a rail traveller on a return journey from Newcastle to London pays 34p a mile standard class and 52p a mile first class. A rail passenger doing a return journey from Edinburgh to London pays 25p per mile standard class and 36p per mile first class.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ''GNER recently agreed to pay a franchise of £1 billion for East Coast. The RMT warned that the only way this money could be raised was by raising fares and cutting services.

''As our analysis shows fares on this line are already three times higher than on journeys of similar length in the nationalised railways in Belgium and France.

''In addition our analysis also shows that travellers in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire are paying more per mile than on the rest of the line.

''In January the Department of Transport's Director of Rail Strategy and Resources, Mark Lambirth, warned senior rail industry figures that 'What you people have to understand is that the future is about service cuts and fare increases'. The electorate should take note of this warning.''