Union bosses vow to fight to save ‘under-threat’ Mansfield station ticket office

Union bosses have launched a campaign to save Britain's railway ticket offices amid fears hundreds – including Mansfield – could be under threat.

By Phoebe Cox
Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:53 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:36 pm

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers has said Government has amended its guidance relating to changes to ticket office opening hours, clearing the way for train operating companies to seek to cut or close the majority of ticket offices at stations across the country.

It claims almost 1,000 ticket offices, including Mansfield’s, are set to close with the loss of thousands of jobs, creating accessibility problems for different types of travellers, amid ‘a wider industry attack on jobs and services’.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: “Ticket offices are a vital service on our railways.

Mansfield train station - strike day.

“The profit-hungry train operating companies simply do not care about the detrimental impact it will have on vulnerable passengers and staff safety.

“We have no problem with genuine modernisation and adapting the way the modern railways work.

“But we will not allow thousands of members to meekly join Britain's dole queues or to accept a version of fire and rehire on inferior terms and conditions.

"We will fight this every step of the way with our national rail strike, and the public can help greatly by putting pressure on their local MP, telling the politicians they must oppose the closures."

Cat Hobbs, director of organisation We Own It, which campaigns for the nationalisation of public services including the railways, said: “Passengers want ticket offices on our railway, they want a human being they can turn to for help, not just a machine.

“We all need them – from children on their first solo trip, to elderly passengers who don’t have a smartphone to buy a ticket.

“You can’t have Great British Railways if people can’t even ask for the information and support that they need.

”It is vital that the government scraps the disastrous plan to close nearly 1,000 ticket offices – that’s why we’re coming together with the RMT Union in this fight for the very future of our railway.

“Instead of abandoning passengers with a second class service, this government should be making it easy for people to take the train.”

East Midlands Railway, which operates train services on the Robin Hood Line between Nottingham and Worksop, via Newstead, Kirkby, Sutton Parkway, Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Shirebrook and Langwith-Whaley Thorns stations, has said it is a matter for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators.

The RDG has been approached for comment, but a spokesman said previously: “The pandemic has been an unprecedented financial shock to the railway.

“While no decisions have been taken over ticket offices, with the acceleration of changing travel patterns and more passengers migrating to digital technology, many jobs will need to change to become more passenger-centric.

“Train companies want to work with unions on how to address those changes, while making sure the industry takes no more than its fair share from the taxpayer.”

The EMR ticket offices at risk of closure according to the union are:

Alfreton; Beeston; Boston; Burton on Trent; Chesterfield; Corby; Derby; East Midlands Parkway; Hinckley; Kettering; Kidsgrove; Leicester; Lincoln; London St Pancras International; Long Eaton; Loughborough; Mansfield; Market Harborough; Melton Mowbray; Oakham; Narborough; Nottingham; Sheffied; Skegness; Sleaford; Spalding; Stamford; and Wellingborough.