‘No plans’ yet to axe offices

Revamp: An artist's impression of how Rotherham station will look.
Revamp: An artist's impression of how Rotherham station will look.

RAIL operator Northern has reassured passengers it has ‘no immediate plans’ to axe ticket offices at two South Yorkshire stations which appear on a Government hit list of sites recommended for closure to save money.

The suggested list includes Rotherham Central and Swinton stations – even though Rotherham is undergoing an £8.5 million reconstruction project.

A report on the rail network by expert Sir Roy McNulty, for the Department for Transport, recommends shutting 675 UK station ticket offices to save money.

The hit list has angered trade unions, who fear 1,000 jobs could be lost across the country, and passengers’ groups.

Both South Yorkshire stations are run in partnership by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Northern.

A Northern spokeswoman said: “The McNulty report is a wide-ranging and significant study into rail industry costs and we along with other partners are giving it the serious and detailed consideration it rightly deserves.

“We have no immediate plans to close any ticket offices, however we recognise that passengers have differing preferences for how they buy their tickets.

“Over recent years we’ve improved our ticket offices and installed more ticket vending machines as well as launching our online ticket sales facility.

“We will continue to enhance our retail options for customers, acknowledging that it is not ‘one size fits all’.”

Rotherham MP Denis MacShane has called for a staffed ticket office to be kept in the town.