Andy Burnham is taking legal action over proposed rail ticket office closures

"For the good of the country, it's a campaign we must win."

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 18th July 2023

Andy Burnham is leading a group of five mayors who are taking legal action over the proposed closure of train station ticket offices.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester and Liverpool city region Mayor Steve Rotheram are two of the local mayors forming part of the campaign after the government-run Rail Delivery Group (RDG) unveiled plans last week to “bring station staff closer to customers” by moving them out of ticket offices and onto platforms and concourses instead.

Around three out of five train stations in England currently have a staffed ticket office, but all that could change moving forward with just under 1,000 of them earmarked to close – including at some of the UK’s busiest stations, such as Manchester Piccadilly.

Mr Burnham had already slammed the proposed closures as “wholly inadequate” for the country.

In a letter penned to Transport Secretary Mark Harper to express his discontent at the proposed closures last week, the Greater Manchester Mayor also called for an “immediate suspension” to rail operator Northern‘s process.


He then threatened that otherwise, he will “have no other option” but to consider legal action.

Now, it seems that that consideration has become a reality, as Mr Burnham has teamed up with four other regional mayors to take charge.


As well as Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, the other regional mayors forming part of the legal campaign group are the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of South Yorkshire Oliver Coppard, and the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson.

According to the group, the campaign will take action against Northern, Thameslink, LNER,  TransPennine Express, Greater Anglia, Avanti, and EMR.

“For the good of the country, it’s a campaign we must win,” Mr Burnham wrote in the Daily Mirror today.


“If the Government and the rail industry get their way, it will erode what remains of public trust in travelling by train, and hasten Britain towards a faceless, soulless society.

“We do not believe the train operators have taken the required steps in law to make a change on this scale and hear the voices of those most affected.

“We believe we can stop them in their tracks.”

Mr Burnham said a 21-day consultation on the plans were not long enough to consider the full implication of the closures, adding that “those in charge” are on a mission to “run [railway stations] down” and “turn passengers away so they can just focus on the most profitable parts”.

Read more:

“The rail operators may be fronting up these plans,” he concluded, “but make no mistake, the Government is standing behind them and handing over the axe.”

Featured Image – RDG