New train station faces ticket office closure as councillors ask ‘Why?’

CONTROVERSIAL plans to close rail station ticket offices include a Tameside stop that only opened five months ago after a £500,000 refit.

And the Rail Delivery Group’s proposal to include Hattersley has left those representing the area scratching their heads in disbelief.

On February 16, the ribbon was cut on a new £570,000 facility, including a new and improved waiting area, which has workspaces and seating.

A new fully accessible toilet was also installed featuring baby changing, grab rails and an audio description for customers with visual impairments.

The new ticket office at Hattersley Rail Station

Now it is likely to be closed if the scheme gets the go ahead, much to the fury of Tameside Council’s first deputy, Cllr Jacqueline North, in whose ward Hattersley Station stands.

She also highlighted just how counter-productive replacing the in-person office with a vending machine and online purchases will be.

She said: “We only opened it a few months ago!

“They spent all during Covid-19 building it and now it seems like on some sort of whim overnight, they’ve decided to close it.

Jonathan Reynolds MP – Photo by GGC Meida

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t imagine anyone running a business in quite that fashion.

“There’s a disabled toilet there – the key is with whoever is in the ticket office. Unless you’ve got your Radar key, you won’t be able to use it.

“There’s the safety and security element too. We can’t forget that.

“I’m a woman, I use the station at night. It’s not a pleasant place if you feel there’s no-one there but you.

At the opening of the new ticket office

“It’s a bit like having guards on trains too.

“It leaves the station open to anti-social behaviour as well. It’s a shock to everybody, why would you do this?”

Cllr North joined RMT union members in a protest at Stalybridge station, alongside council leader, Cllr Ged Cooney.

He said: “It’s unbelievable. A new station, a new ticket office. They put it all in place and it beggars belief.”

The Government plans, announced on Wednesday, July 5, have sparked a huge response from people who use the train network.

And the Transport for the North body said: “We understand that the way people buy tickets is changing and that there needs to be reform.

“However, this should be done in a holistic way, considering the needs of all station users and local communities.

“We are concerned that the focus on ticket office staffing in isolation of wider investment (for example pay as you go ticketing) could lead to disadvantaging certain passengers and communities.

“We will be working with our partners on a robust response to the consultation using local evidence and knowledge.

“Patronage growth on the railways in the north is strong, albeit people are choosing to travel at different times for different purposes.

“Done correctly, we can ensure that reform supports growth and the needs of all passengers.

“But it must not be to the disadvantage of any station users, especially in regards to accessibility and safety.”

One Reply to “New train station faces ticket office closure as councillors ask ‘Why?’”

  1. I am Babs Allen, Chair of the Friends of Hattersley Station., Earmarked for closure.We have been working at the station for over 12 years in all sorts of weather to create new gardens, litter pick , stage community events as well as informing the public obout the advantages of rail travel, which is a quick, clean and efficient method of travel and should be encouraged at all costs.

    I was at the opening event of the new ticket office, the building of which caused a lot of difficulties for the public and our group especially as it took place during covid. However, after completion we not only have a toilet albeit, only available until 2pm when our part-time ticket man goes off duty, we also have a place to store our tools and equipment in a lockable container on site. I was especially pleased with this as I had previously stored everything at home in a new shed specifically bought for this purpose, and then brought everything to site. What joy! At last, volunteers were at last being looked after.We

    However, when being informed of this rediculous, badly thought out plan to close many ticket offices along with our brand-new refurbished ticket office after such a short time, I was flabbergasted! It is not only a huge waste of taxpayer’s money which could have been used on other worthwhile and badly needed projects in the borough, it is a scandalous fiasco! The train company (or other agencies involved) should be forced to repay the money forked out by TMBC even if it means having to use legal litigation which could also incur costs if a misrepresentation of facts by the rail operators can be proved.

    One more thing regarding ticket dispensing machines I must mention, is the absolute fiasco that happened during one of our regular work days a few weeks ago. A lady with two children – one in a pushchair, tried to obtain tickets from the ticket machine. It couldn’t complete the transaction which meant she would have to buy them at Piccadilly instead. The same thing happened to a group of men off on a jaunt. Both took photos to show to security at their destination otherwise they would be fined on top of the ticket cost.
    Not a good look for Northern Rail I think.

    I have canvassed several residents and rail users who are absolutely appalled to hear about our ticket office which is a real asset in their view and insist that it is retained. What cost is the assurance that our friendly ticket man (albeit part-time) is on hand to assist passengers? He is also a person who has been very helpful to my volunteer group who given many free hours of work to the station premises. Do we not count? Perhaps the cost of our work hours should be set against his salary to offset our need for him to stay in place? Against I just reiterate most strongly that this a short-sighted and absolutely ludicrous plan to close our ticket office and which is absolutely not the way to win public support.

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