Lancaster rail station ticket office will remain open, in an announcement made today by Transport Secretary Mark Harper.
In July the Government asked train companies to set out proposals on ticket office closures across the country, which included proposals by Avanti to close Lancaster train station’s ticket office.
Making the announcement, Mark Harper said:
“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 now expect train operators to withdraw these proposals. We do not expect any proposals to be referred to the Secretary of State for a decision.
We are aiming to consult on a draft National Rail Accessibility Strategy next year.”
Initially this was a 28-day consultation, but following a huge public backlash and concerns raised over the obligations under Section 29 of the Railways Act 2005 and threats of legal action by Andy Burnham, Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, the consultation was extended until 1st September.
Lancaster’s Labour MP Cat Smith had collected over 1200 signatures against the closure, and has welcomed the announcement.
“I am delighted that such a huge number of residents responded to my petition and that we’ve been able to save the ticket office.
It is clear from the hundreds of stories people have shared with me that the ticket office has immense value to our community, particularly for those with additional accessibility needs.
This was a rushed consultation pushed through by the Government, with a senseless plan from Avanti to cut costs and in turn, worsen passenger safety, security, accessibility, and services.
It’s right that this closure has been rejected in the face of an overwhelming opposition from local residents who rely on the ticket office every day.”