Concerns raised over plans to close the ticket office at Berwick Railway Station

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Councillors and officials have said the proposal to shut the ticket office at Berwick Railway Station will negatively impact a significant number of rail users.

Last year, a drastic reduction in opening times at the travel centre came into effect.

And on Wednesday, LNER announced that Berwick is one of its stations where it plans to ‘repurpose travel centres, with colleagues supporting customers on the stations and proposals to create a modern station retailing experience’.

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A public consultation has started and it will run until July 26.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP pictured at Berwick Railway Station.Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP pictured at Berwick Railway Station.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP pictured at Berwick Railway Station.

The company says in its information booklet about the plans that ‘only four per cent of customers purchase tickets at Berwick-upon-Tweed Ticket Office’, although it adds that ‘these plans are not final’.

But the Mayor of Berwick, Coun John Robertson, said “These decisions can’t be made on the basis of national policy or one-size-fits-all criteria.

“Berwick already suffers from poor road connections, with no prospect of the A1 being dualled in the near future, which means there’s a lack of alternatives to rail.

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“Our residents, young and old, deserve to have all the help possible to travel to work, to hospitals and to education and training. Any proposals affecting our train station should be based on our needs and the needs of our town.”

Town Council Clerk Gareth Davies added: “We think that a well-staffed ticked office is a tried and tested method for providing information, for helping passengers choose the best value tickets, and for requesting help or assistance for those with mobility problems.

“We feel that any changes can only be acceptable if they don’t disadvantage passengers, and don’t put obstacles in the way of any of our residents.”

Staffing numbers are not mentioned in the LNER document.

Berwick East county councillor Georgina Hill said: “In terms of our campaign to keep the Berwick ticket office open, the fact that this mean, cost-cutting measure is happening across the country poses challenges and opportunities.

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“Although, nobody can have much confidence that the Government and railway companies are prepared to listen.

“I suspect that a handful of ticket offices , from the very long list of planned closures will be retained or, more likely, given a stay of execution so that they can try to claim that they have listened and conducted more that a show consultation.

“I hope that they will, at least, properly assess the demographics of each area, the strategic position and the distances to the nearest other ticket office when making the decision on which ones to save.

“Also, I want to be given reassurance that this mean, cost cutting measure will result in the consolation that next January we will not see the usual inflation-busting increase in rail fares – but somehow, I doubt it.”

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Catherine Seymour, Berwick North county councillor, said: “We want to encourage more public transport, so must make it user friendly and to keep the ticket office open to serve the community, not by making it more difficult to purchase tickets and get essential information for travel.

Closing the ticket office will not meet the needs of your customers – so think again LNER!”

The LNER document also says: ‘Our new team of multi-skilled station staff will be available across the station to sell tickets or assist with the use of ticket vending machines, if required.

‘This will allow the Ticket Office to close and help us prioritise meeting the evolving needs of our customers.’

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People can read the information about Berwick station in full at

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been raising awareness of the consultation as she wants as many people as possible in her constituency to provide feedback.

She said: “I’m pleased to see that no station will become unstaffed as a result, with Berwick-upon-Tweed Station open and staffed from the first to the last train.

“The way we buy tickets is changing just as with everything else, but I would strongly urge you to respond to these proposals so they’re done in the right way for our rural community.”

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To submit feedback directly about the Berwick proposals, email [email protected] or write to Transport Focus at the following freepost address: RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus, PO Box 5594, Southend on Sea, SS1 9PZ.

If you need assistance to provide your feedback, you can call 0300 1232350.