Anger as March Railway Station’s ticket office is earmarked for closure

NEWS that the ticket office at March Railway Station has been earmarked for closure has been met with dismay by residents.

A government report, which emerged this week, recommended that ticketing staff should be replaced by machines at 675 stations across England and Wales - including March.

Adrian Sutterby, Chairman of the Friends of March Railway Station, has hit out at the plans - expressing fears over a lack of security at an unmanned station.

“I certainly wouldn’t want it to happen,” he said. “You need a human face to talk to and to deal with enquiries. It’s definitely sad news as the ticket office is all part of the station.

“I have seen some of the places where they’ve put machinery in instead of staff and they’ve quickly been hit by vandals. There’s suddenly nobody there so it becomes a security issue as well.”

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March Railway Station celebrated the 125th anniversary of its historic platforms last year.

Mr Sutterby said station staff were often needed to help disabled passengers around the platforms. “It’s a small station but it’s a busy station,” he said.

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“Why they want to target March is beyond me because it’s a busy place. Obviously, as a group, we are not happy with it.

“I don’t like dealing with the machines and I travel on the train a fair bit. More people will also end up getting their tickets on the train itself, supplying the guards with more work and putting extra pressure on them.”

A quarter of the country’s ticket offices were singled out for closure in the government study, which was commissioned to look at ways of cutting costs in the rail industry.

All the stations highlighted serve fewer than 250,000 passengers a year - but more than 1,000 jobs could be lost if the plans went ahead.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has already launched an “SOS - Save our Station ticket offices” campaign, which will tour party conferences urging MPs to save their ticket offices in their constituency.

An open day will be held at March Railway Station tomorrow as part of the Heritage Weekend.

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