Sunday 11, March 2012
Walkden rail station jobs loss rumours quashed
A CONTROVERSIAL report proposing the closure of Walkden Station ticket office has been played down by Northern Rail.
Concerns over safety and an increase in crime were raised after the McNulty report suggested that passengers buy their tickets either on-line or at a self service machine.
These suggestions were part of a plan to make the rail industry ‘value for money’ by cutting the staff at station level. A newly installed self-service machine fuelled speculation amongst locals that these plans were taking effect.
However, Northern Rail spokeswoman Carolyn Watson has move to allay any concerns. She said: "We have no immediate plans to close any ticket offices, however we recognise that passengers have differing preferences for how they buy their tickets."
Walkden Conservative Councillor, Iain Lindley, said: “We have been reassured that there are no plans, to reduce the ticket office opening hours. As long as that remains the case, the ticket machine is an improvement and not a threat.”
Neil Stapleton, member of local voluntary group, Friends of Walkden Station, added: “Ticket vending machines are a useful facility for passengers, to buy tickets at busy times or when the booking office is closed.
"We do not know of any plans to close the booking office at Walkden, but FOWS would strongly oppose such a proposal if it were made.”
Northern Rail claimed that ‘Not one size fits all’ when buying tickets and that they had improved ticket offices, installed ticket vending machines and launched an on-line ticket sales facility.
By Andrew Bailey
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