THE ticket office at only one train station in the borough of Halton is proposed to remain open amid mass national closures.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group this week unveiled widely condemned proposals which could lead to nearly all offices being shut at stations across the country.

It insists that moving ticket office staff on to station platforms and concourses will ‘modernise customer service’, and it has pledged there will be ‘more staff available to give face-to-face help’.

Public consultations are set to take place, but Avanti West Coast has confirmed that it is planning on closing its ticket office at Runcorn station, as is Northern at its stations in the borough.

However, Transport for Wales says it does not plan to make changes to the office at Runcorn East.

Marie Daly, chief culture and customer officer said: “The Welsh Government and Transport for Wales are not in scope of the ticket office announcement made by the Department for Transport train operators in England.

“We do not have any plans to reduce the number of staff at our stations, and we will continue to work in a social partnership with our trade unions as part of regular dialogue on how we deliver the best possible service to meet the needs of our customers.

“TfW does not plan to make similar wholesale changes to ticket offices in Wales, to the ticket offices that we manage in England – Chester, Hereford, Leominster, Runcorn East or Shrewsbury – or to the ticket offices operated by our retail agents.”

The RDG said 12 per cent of train tickets are bought from offices at stations, down from 82 per cent in 1995.

Passengers will be asked to pay for journeys by tapping contactless cards on barriers, using self-service machines or buying tickets from staff on station concourses or trains if possible.

RDG chief executive Jacqueline Starr said: “The ways our customers buy tickets has changed, and it is time for the railway to change with them.

“With just 12 per cent of tickets being sold from ticket offices last year, and 99 per cent of those transactions being available on ticket vending machines or online, our proposals would mean more staff on hand to give face-to-face help with a much wider range of support, from journey planning to finding the right ticket and helping those with accessibility needs.

“Our commitment is that we will always treat our staff, who are hugely valued and integral to the experience our customers have on the railway, fairly, with support and extra training to move into new more engaging roles.”

Northern says it plans to close ticket offices at 131 stations in phases over an 18-month period, subject to the outcome of the consultation, with only 18 remaining open with reduced staff hours.

Northern also says it plans to introduce a new multi-skilled ‘journey maker’ role at stations to assist passengers.

Avanti West Coast is also proposing the creation of a similar customer ambassador role, with proposed changes to be phased over three years.

To take part in the 21-day consultation, which is now open and will run up to July 28, visit or

A spokesman for transport body Transport for the North 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 regard to accessibility and safety.”