A consultation into closing 974 ticket offices has been called a “sham” by a union leader, while MPs have raised concerns that passengers will not always be given the cheapest price from an app.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has put forward proposals to close ticket offices to cut costs after the pandemic badly hit the sector, with many workers now commuting fewer days or not at all. The group said 99 per cent of transactions made at offices last year could have been made at the ticket machines or online, and that only 12 per cent of tickets were bought from offices.
Unions and others have warned the closures will lead to more strikes, increased crime rates, and more difficult journeys for the elderly and vulnerable. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has said that it will vigorously oppose the proposals.
Union leader Mick Lynch said a consultation that closed on September 1 was a “sham”. He said “We think the whole thing has been a sham designed to be rammed through while people were looking the other way.”
On Wednesday, an MP raised fears that passengers are being overcharged by up to £100 by apps which are not displaying the best options for saving on journeys. Tory member Chris Loder told Parliament: “It just makes me sick. This, frankly, is a scandal.”
The Trainline told the Evening Standard that it does not hide the cheapest prices but others have raised objections to the proposals. This includes one visually impaired passenger who has told the BBC that the move would be a “grave mistake”, with the blind needing all the assistance they can get to safely make journeys.
But which stations’ ticket offices are closing and what are the next steps?
Will my station’s ticket office close?
Every ticket office apart from a select few at the busiest UK train stations will be closed. To the surprise of many, the closures will include Waterloo and Marylebone stations in London, Birmingham New Street station, and Manchester Piccadilly.
Ticket offices at train stations that will remain open are operated by the following companies.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway Company
Transport for Wales
Transport for London
Transport for Greater Manchester
Which ticket offices could be closing in London?
Ticket offices proposed for closure within Greater London are at the following stations. Note that not all stations in the Oyster card zone are included on this list, as some fall outside Greater London:
The ticket office at London Fenchurch St is proposed to stay open, but with changed hours.
Govia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern, Southern, and Thameslink)
Every London station’s ticket office is proposed for closure, except for Blackfriars, East Croydon, Finsbury Park, London Victoria, and Sutton. Those five stations “will have the ability to open their ticket offices to retail specialist tickets”.
Elephant and Castle
Grange Park station
Mill Hill Broadway
Queens Road Peckham
West Hampstead Thameslink
Great Western Railway
Ticket windows at Paddington are to have “reduced” hours but will remain open in the short-term. Windows are proposed for closure in late 2024.
Castle Bar Park
At London Liverpool Street, “the changes being proposed are only minor alterations to the opening hours of the Customer Information Centre”.
Some of the ticket offices at London Euston and at London St Pancras are understood to be proposed for closure.
Ticket office closures in the rest of the UK
As we’ve already mentioned, ticket office closures will impact a majority of other ticket offices outside of Greater London as well. These include:
Avanti West Coast
Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Carlisle, Coventry, Crewe, Glasgow Central, Lancaster, Macclesfield, Manchester Piccadilly, Oxenholme Lake District, Penrith North Lakes, Preston, Rugby, Runcorn, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, Stafford, Warrington Bank Quay, and Wigan North Western.
Chiltern Railways ticket office closures
Beaconsfield, Denham, Gerrards Cross, High Wycombe, Seer Green & Jordans, Aylesbury, Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Great Missenden, Haddenham & Thame, Princes Risborough, Stoke Mandeville, Wendover, Banbury, Bicester North, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Warwick Parkway, Birmingham Moor Street, Dorridge, Solihull, and Northolt Park.
Chalkwell, East Tilbury, Laindon, Leigh, Ockendon, Pitsea, Purfleet, Shoebury, Southend East, Stanford le Hope, Thorpe Bay, and Tilbury.
Alfreton, Boston, Chesterfield, Hinckley, Kidsgrove, Long Eaton, Mansfield, Melton Mowbray, Newark Castle, Oakham, Skegness, Spalding, Wellingborough, Beeston, Burton-on-Trent, Corby, East Midlands Parkway, Kettering, Loughborough, Market Harborough, Narborough, Sleaford, and Stamford (Lincs).
Audley End, Billericay, Bishop’s Stortford, Braintree, Broxbourne, Burnham-On-Crouch, Cheshunt, Clacton-On-Sea, Colchester Town, Diss, Elsenham, Ely, Frinton-On-Sea, Great Yarmouth, Harlow Town, Hatfield Peverel, Hertford East, Hockley, Ingatestone, Kelvedon, Lowestoft, Manningtree, March, Marks Tey, Newport (Essex), Prittlewell, Rayleigh, Rochford, Rye House, Sawbridgeworth, Shelford, Shenfield, South Woodham Ferrers, Southend Victoria, St Margarets, Stansted Mountfitchet, Stowmarket, Thetford, Waltham Cross, Ware, Whittlesford Parkway, Wickford, Witham, Wivenhoe.
London North Eastern Railway (Operating on the East Coast Main Line)
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Darlington, Durhan, Grantham, Newark Northgate, Retford, and Wakefield Westgate.
Accrington, Adlington, Alderley Edge, Alnmouth, Appleby, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Atherton, Barnsley, Beverley, Bingley, Birchwood, Bradford Forster Square, Bramhall, Bredbury, Bridlington, Brinnington, Broad Green, Broadbottom, Bromley Cross, Buckshaw Parkway, Burnage, Burnley Central, Burnley Manchester Road, Buxton,Chassen Road, Cheadle Hulme, Chorley, Congleton, Cross Gates Yorks, Daisy Hill, Davenport, Deansgate, Dinting, Disley, Driffield, Earlestown, East Didsbury, Eccles, Eccleston Park, Edge Hill LiverpoolFarnworth, Flixton, Garforth, Garswood, Gatley, Glazebrook, Goole, Gorton, Grange-Over-Sands, Greenfield, Guide Bridge, Guiseley, Hadfield, Hag Fold, Hale, Halewood, Halifax, Handforth, Hattersley, Hazel Grove, Heald Green, Heaton Chapel, Hebden Bridge, Hexham, Hindley, Holmes Chapel, Horsforth, Hough Green, Huyton,Ilkley, Keighley, Kirkham & Wesham, Knutsford, Lea Green, Leeds Travel Centre, Levenshulme, Leyland, Littleborough, Lostock Parkway, Marple, Mauldeth Road, Meadowhall, Menston, Mexborough, Morecambe, Morpeth, Mossley (Greater Manchester), Mossley Hill, New Mills Central, New Mills Newtown, New Pudsey, Newton For Hyde, Newton-Le-Willows, Northwich,Parbold, Poulton-Le-Fylde, Poynton, Prescot, Rainhill, Redcar Central, Reddish North, Roby, Romiley, Rose Hill (Marple), Rotherham Central, Salford Central, Sandbach, Settle, Shipley, St Annes-On-The-Sea, St Helens Junction, Sunderland, Swinton (Yorkshire), Swinton (Greater Manchester), Thatto Heath, Thorne North, Todmorden, Ulverston, Urmston, Walkden, Warrington West, Wavertree Technology Park, West Allerton, Whaley Bridge, Whiston, Whitehaven, Widnes.
Angmering, Arlesey, Arundel, Ashtead, Ashwell & Morden, Balcombe, Baldock, Barnham, Bedford, Berwick, Bexhill, Biggleswade, Billingshurst, Bognor Regis, Bosham, Brighton, Brookmans Park, Burgess Hill, Buxted, Caterham, Chichester, Chipstead, Christ’s Hospital, Cooden Beach, Crawley, Crowborough, Cuffley, Dorking, Dormans, Downham Market, Durrington On Sea, Earlswood, East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Edenbridge Town, Elstree & Borehamwood, Emsworth, Epsom, Eridge, Ewell East, Falmer, Flitwick, Ford, Goring By Sea, Ham Street, Hampden Park, Harlington, Harpenden, Hassocks, Hatfield (Herts.), Haywards Heath, Hertford North, Hitchin, Horley, Horsham, Hove, Huntingdon, Hurst Green, Ifield, Kings Lynn, Kingswood, Knebworth, Lancing, Leagrave, Leatherhead, Letchworth Garden City, Lewes, Lingfield, Littlehampton, London Road, London St Pancras International, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Meldreth, Merstham, Mitcham Junction, Moulsecoomb, Newhaven Town, Oxted, Pevensey & Westham, Polegate, Portslade, Potters Bar, Preston Park, Pulborough, Radlett, Redhill, Reigate, Royston, Rye, Salfords, Sandy, Seaford, Shoreham By Sea, Southbourne, Southwick, St Albans, St Neots, Stevenage, Sutton, Tadworth, Tattenham Corner, Three Bridges, Uckfield, Upper Warlingham, Warblington, Watton-At-Stone, Welham Green, Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn North, West Worthing, Whyteleafe, Whyteleafe South, Wivelsfield, Woldingham, and Worthing.
South Western Trains
Aldershot, Alton, Andover, Ascot (Berks), Ash, Ash Vale, Ashford (Surrey), Ashurst New Forest, Axminster, Bagshot, Barnes Bridge, Basingstoke, Beaulieu Road, Bedhampton, Bentley, Bitterne, Bookham, Botley, Bournemouth, Box Hill and Westhumble, Bracknell, Brading, Branksome, Brockenhurst, Brookwood, Bruton, Bursledon, Byfleet and New Haw, Camberley, Castle Cary, Chandlers Ford, Chertsey, Christchurch, Clandon, Cobham and Stoke d’Abernon, Corfe Castle, Cosham, Cranbrook Devon, Crewkerne, Datchet, Dean (Wiltshire), Earley, Eastleigh, Effingham Junction, Egham, Epsom Surrey, Esher, Ewell West, Exeter Central, Exeter St Davids, Fareham, Farnborough (Main), Farncombe, Farnham, Feniton, Fleet, Fratton, Frimley, Frome, Gillingham (Dorset), Godalming, Hamble, Hampton Court, Hamworthy, Haslemere, Havant, Hedge End, Hersham, Hilsea, Hinchley Wood, Hinton Admiral, Holton Heath, Honiton, Hook, Horsley, Isleworth, Kempton Park Racecourse, Kew Bridge, Lake, Leatherhead, Liphook, Liss, London Road (Guildford), Longcross, Lymington Pier, Lymington Town, Martins Heron, Micheldever, Milford (Surrey), Millbrook (Hants), Moreton (Dorset), Mottisfont and Dunbridge, Netley, New Milton, Overton, Oxshott, Parkstone Dorset, Petersfield, Pinhoe, Pokesdown, Poole, Portchester, Portsmouth and Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour, Queenstown Road (Battersea), Reading, Redbridge, Romsey, Rowlands Castle, Ryde Esplanade, Ryde Pier Head, Ryde St Johns Road, Salisbury, Sandown, Shanklin, Shawford, Shepperton, Sherborne, Sholing, Smallbrook Junction, Southampton Airport (Parkway), Southampton Central, Staines, St Denys, Stoneleigh, Sunbury, Sunningdale, Sunnymeads, Swanwick, Sway, Swaythling, Syon Lane, Templecombe, Thames Ditton, Tisbury, Totton, Upper Halliford, Upwey, Virginia Water, Walton-On-Thames, Wanborough, Wareham (Dorset), Warminster, West Byfleet, Westbury, Weybridge, Weymouth, Whimple, Whitchurch (Hampshire), Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle, Witley, Woking, Wokingham, Wool, Woolston, Worplesdon, Wraysbury, Yeovil Junction, and Yeovil Pen Mill.
What happens next?
Train companies are proposing changes to update the railway to how passengers use it today.
These changes would see staff move from ticket offices and into stations, offering more face-to-face support for customers across the network as a whole.
Have your say in the newly…
— Rail Delivery Group (@RailDeliveryGrp) July 6, 2023
There will be a two-week period of assessment now consultations have closed, while organisations consider the feedback they’ve received and any specific objections requesting that a certain ticket office remains open.
The watchdog Transport Focus will gauge how the move will affect passengers, the staffing levels at stations, and disabled people’s access to stations.
The Government will then have the final say on which ticket offices will close their doors.
However, train operators have already begun closing station ticket offices, despite initially saying the closures wouldn’t happen until the autumn.