The consultation process on stations reform, including proposals to close a number of ticket offices across the North East, including Darlington Train Station’s ticket office has now ended.
The Secretary of State has just announced that, given the proposals that have resulted from the process do not meet the clear principle set by Ministers to redeploy staff and the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.
Peter Gibson MP for Darlington raised the issue in a debate in Parliament last month and called for the ticket office at Darlington Bank Top Station to remain open.
Mr Gibson received a significant amount of correspondence from his constituents opposing the closure of Darlington’s ticket office and during the debate he highlighted that 133,785 tickets were sold in the ticket office last year, equating to an average of 368 a day, demonstrating significant demand for a ticket office in Darlington.
Mr Gibson also highlighted the increased footfall that is expected at Darlington station following the completion of the £139 million redevelopment, which will see the addition of extra platforms, significantly increasing the capacity of the station. As such, Mr Gibson said that “closing the ticket office in Darlington seems to me simply madness at this time, undermining this important government funded redevelopment.”
Mr Gibson has previously met with Huw Merriman MP, the Rail Minister, as well as LNER to make clear his opposition to the closure of the ticket office.
Speaking following the decision to scrap the plan to closure Darlington Ticket Office, Mr Gibson said “I am delighted that the effective campaign by the community in Darlington has been effective. Showing the train operators that their proposals to close ticket offices did not meet the threshold.
“I know those in Darlington who use our ticket office including the elderly, the disabled and those with special needs will be relieved at this news.
“I want to thank everyone who participated in the consultation and shared their views with me which I then shared with the government and the train operators.”
The Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper said “The consultation on ticket offices has now ended, with the Government making clear to the rail industry throughout the process that any resulting proposals must meet a high threshold of serving passengers.
“We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in Parliament. The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by Ministers, and so the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.
“We will continue our work to reform our railways with the expansion of contactless Pay As You Go ticketing, making stations more accessible through our Access for All programme and £350 million funding through our Network North plan to improve accessibility at up to 100 stations.”