Closure of station ticket offices confirmed


Ticket offices at 14 train stations in Cheshire be closed permanently, including Alderley Edge, Handforth and Wilmslow.

Plans to axe up to 1,000 ticket offices across the UK were unveiled by the government on Tuesday, 5th July, having been proposed by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) - an industry body which represents private railway operators.

Face-to face counters will remain at some of the busiest stations, including Manchester Piccadilly.

Customers will now have to purchase tickets via apps and websites or self-service machines at stations.

Jacqueline Starr, Rail Delivery Group chief executive, said "The ways our customers buy tickets has changed and it's time for the railway to change with them.

"With just 12% of tickets being sold from ticket offices last year, and 99% of those transactions being available on TVMs or online, our proposals would mean more staff on hand on to give face to face help with a much wider range of support, from journey planning, to finding the right ticket and helping those with accessibility needs."

The trade union RMT condemned the proposals to close ticket offices.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: "The decision to close up to 1,000 ticket offices and to issue hundreds of redundancy notices to staff is a savage attack on railway workers, their families and the travelling public.

"Travellers will be forced to rely on apps and remote mobile teams to be available to assist them rather than having trained staff on stations.

"This is catastrophic for elderly, disabled and vulnerable passengers trying to access the rail network."

He added "They want to cut costs, make profits for shareholders, and run the network into the ground without a thought as to the vital role the rail industry plays in the country's economy.

"RMT is mounting a strong industrial, and political campaign to resist ticket office closures and station staff cuts. And we will continue our fight on July 20, 22 and 29 when 20,000 railway workers on the train operators go on strike."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Marcus Holt
Thursday 6th July 2023 at 11:17 am
Northern are also closing all Wilmslow ticket offices as well, the plan is to have "Journey Makers" to assist passengers, the same as Alderley Edge, although we are only getting one for 2 hours a day, 1pm to 3pm.... However, for us I do wonder how many tickets are actually sold in Alderley Edge in the ticket office.
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 8th July 2023 at 1:37 pm
Northern is proposing to close almost all its booking offices, as are most Train Operating Companies. Avanti (spit!) are even planning to close the office at Manchester Piccadilly, one of the country's biggest and busiest railway stations!
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 8th July 2023 at 10:02 pm
Crewe and even London Euston ticket offices are proposed to close as well. We'll have the ridiculous situation where many of the busiest ticket offices even at major London Termini will be closed, but some such as Glossop will not! Where is the media coverage on this? What are they scared of?

Here's an excellent piece that sums up this cynical totally illogical government anti-rail customer proposal rather well. :
Terry Roeves
Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 6:00 pm
We heard of an elderly lady, not in the best of health, unable to buy her ticket at Wilmslow. It’s unclear why she was unable to use the machine. She did her best.
She got on the train to Handforth thinking that she would buy her ticket there. No! She was fined for not having a ticket.
Having paid the fine, Northern Rail show no interest in giving her the benefit of the doubt. It was paid, so that’s it, no refund.
What a world we live in.
Bob Bracegirdle
Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 6:11 pm
Absolute disaster for anyone wanting information on changes to train services or special offers etc. We need to be able to speak to human beings not machines. I saved £100 for two of us to Edinburgh from Stockport by talking to the ticket office - the offer was nowhere on line. You can bet that soon you'll be met by that insane screen that says "frequently asked questions", none of which is your question.

I have several friends too that are not online and do not have smart phones.
Judi Goodwin
Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 6:30 pm
In the past, I have always purchased tickets from the guard on the train when the Alderley Edge ticket office has not been open. But I don't travel by train often so this may have changed,. Does anyone know if we will still be able to pay the guard or will we be prosecuted or thrown off the train for allegedly being a "fare-dodger".
Mark Eden
Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 8:09 pm
The railways only carry 6% of all passengers. The rest by car. The railways are lucky to still be here after Beaching. They lose a fortune every day. HS2 is a white elephant. Cost savings have to be made and lets face it the customer service was always pretty poor. Having said all of that.......everything is being dehumanised into a bland faceless tech future. The soul of organisations is going rapidly from banks to the high streets disappearing.It's not a world I was born into and it is not a world I particulary like anymore.
Jonathan Follows
Wednesday 12th July 2023 at 7:11 am
Travelling on a train without a valid ticket when there is a means of buying the ticket at the station is a criminal offence, and can lead to prosecution. This does happen, so I don't advise it, although often they simply sell you a ticket on the train anyway.

If the ticket office is closed and if any self-service ticket machines at the departure station are not working, or if you have a disability preventing you from using them, only then you are allowed to board a train without a ticket.

My advice is simply not to risk it. Many people do and get away with it. Your decision.
Kelvin Briggs
Wednesday 12th July 2023 at 7:54 am
Here is a link to Northern Trains information about the changes that can be downloaded
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 12th July 2023 at 12:52 pm
Judi Goodwin, If the ticket office is open OR the ticket machine is working, you have to have a ticket before boarding the train. Northern operate a Penalty Fare system where in theory if caught travelling without a ticket when you could have bought one at the station where you boarded, you will be issued a penalty fare of £100.

I was on a train recently and witnessed a young man, on being asked to show his ticket, ask to buy a single, Wilmslow to Stockport. The guard pointed out he was liable for the £100 penalty fare as he should have bought a ticket at Wilmslow, but didn't enforce it - he just sold him the requested ticket at the standard price.

My feeling is that some guards are reluctant to challenge a fare evader with a £100 penalty, whereas if it were, say, £25 they might. However, Revenue Enforcement Officers sometimes travel on our trains, and they will have no qualms about such enforcement.