Alnmouth railway station staff hailed as 'marvellous ambassadors' as more concerns raised over ticket office closure plans

Plans to close the ticket office at Alnmouth railway station have been branded ‘deeply worrying’.
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Cllr Martin Swinbank, Alnwick ward member on Northumberland County Council, was speaking after Northern announced plans to close 131 of the ticket offices it manages across the country.

“The proposal to close the ticket office at Alnmouth Station and reduce the number of hours where staff are available to assist passengers is deeply worrying,” he said.

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"Precisely at the time when we need to enable more rail travel, the proposals risk discouraging and disenfranchising passengers.

Alnmouth station ticket officeAlnmouth station ticket office
Alnmouth station ticket office

"In particular, older or disabled travellers will find it more difficult to use the train to travel.

“We need to invest in our railways and treat public transport as a service for passengers rather than as a business serving shareholders.

"Only then will it truly be able to take us forward as a low carbon alternative to the private car. It is a fantastic way to travel when it works well, and we need to build on the service we have.

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“I would urge everyone who uses the railway to respond to the consultation and let's see if we can collectively secure improvement, rather than this proposed degradation of the service.”

Friends of Alnmouth Station chair, Katherine Challis, added: “The staff at the station are marvellous ambassadors for our region and the rail network, doing far more than simply selling tickets. I hope that a staff presence at the station can be maintained for as many hours as possible.”

Statistics show that one in six journeys on Northern services are bought through a ticket office, compared with almost half of all journeys in 2018.

Beerwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “I’m pleased to see that no station will become unstaffed as a result.

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“LNER and Northern have made clear that this will bring staff out onto the station concourse and platform to deliver more face-to-face staff support and advice to help customers purchase tickets through the machine, online or through mobile retailing devices.

“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.”

According to Northern, ticket office workers will be brought into a new Journey Maker role, and will be based across stations, but not in ticket offices, to help customers with a range of needs, such as supporting customers to buy tickets at ticket machines or through the customers’ own mobile device.

A Promise to Pay notice will allow those who can only pay in cash to board a train (if they are at a station with no ticket office).

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It will be collected from a ticket machine and needed before getting on the train. They will need to be exchanged for a ticket, which can be payed in cash at the first opportunity, either on board (from a conductor), or from a ticket office.

Alnmouth station currently operates from 06:40 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 10:20 to 21:30 on Sunday. The Journey Maker hours proposed are 06:30 to 13:00 Monday to Saturday and 11:00 to 21:00 on Sunday.

Northern are consulting on their proposals until July 28. To comment: Email: [email protected] or write to Freepost: RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus, PO Box 5594, Southend on Sea, SS1 9PZ

If your response relates to a certain station please include its name in your response.