Stamford and Oakham train station ticket offices under threat

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The ticket office at Stamford railway station could be closed under a new money-saving initiative.

The Government is to consider a series of cost-cutting exercises saving £1bn in the rail industry, which have been suggested in a report by Sir Roy McNulty.

One suggestion is to close ticket offices at 675 category E stations, which serve fewer than 250,000 passengers and are open for less than 10 hours a day. The offices would be replaced with ticket machines.

The category E stations include Stamford, Oakham, Corby and Melton Mowbray.

At present the ticket office openbs Monday to saturdays from 6.20am to 12.30pm. Outside those hours, passengers can buy their tickets from a machine.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, known as the TSSA, is launching a campaign called SOS Save our Station ticket offices, which will tour the party conferences over the next four weeks urging MPs to save the ticket offices in their constituencies.

MP for Stamford Nick Boles (Con) said: “No decisions have been made about the recommendations contained within the McNulty report.

“But, in general, it is important that we allow our railways to use modern technology to cut costs so that we can restrain further increases in passenger fares.”

Union leader Gerry Doherty has called on the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to reject the idea.

He said: “Not only are unstaffed stations less secure, tickets bought from machines are usually more expensive.”

A spokesman for East Midlands Trains, which runs the ticket offices in Stamford, Oakham, Corby and Melton, said millions of pounds had been invested in ticket machines.

She said: “This reflects a fundamental shift in the way passengers buy tickets, with nationally only one in three tickets now purchased from station ticket offices.

“Any changes to ticket office opening times have to undergo a rigorous consultation process and ensure that passengers’ needs continue to be met.

“We are aware of the recommendations in the McNulty report on value for money, including those around the retailing of tickets and the pre-conditions Sir Roy has proposed for any changes to the current arrangements.”

Pre-conditions in the report to close category E stations include improving mobile ticketing, developing additional outlets to sell tickets including newsagents and installing adequate ticket machines.

The report, called Rail Value for Money, was commissioned by the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation.

The Department for Transport said the report was being considered.