Andy Burnham vows to ‘keep fighting’ to stop train station ticket offices closing

The Mayor of Greater Manchester says there's still time for the Government to "do the right thing and stop these plans now".

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 4th September 2023

Andy Burnham has vowed to “keep fighting” to make sure train station ticket offices don’t permanently close.

In case you’re not quite up to speed, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has been leading a campaign group of four northern mayors who are taking legal action over the proposed closure of train station ticket offices in England, after the government-run Rail Delivery Group (RDG) unveiled plans back in July back 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 before launching the legal fight.

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


He claimed he had “no other option” but to take legal action.

But now, after a consultation on the proposed closure of ticket offices has officially come to an end, Mr Burnham has joined his fellow mayors – the others of which are Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotheram, Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, and Mayor of South Yorkshire Oliver Coppard – they calling for “the right thing to be done by stopping the plans now” in a joint statement.


“The train companies initially tried to push the closure of ticket offices through, under the radar,” the Mayors’ joint statement reads.

“But together, we made them listen.

“Our legal challenge resulted in the operators extending the consultation process, addressing unfair accessibility issues and producing Equality Impact Assessments which are vital in assessing the plans [and] this meant that more people were able to have their say on the plans – and may otherwise have remained unheard.


“The law is clear that operators cannot close parts of stations without following the clear procedure set out in the Railways Act 2005.

“This procedure has still not been followed and the process of our legal challenge with the train firms around this remains ongoing.  

“Closing ticket offices will hit the most vulnerable hardest [and] at a time when we need more people using the railways, these plans would have the opposite effect.

“All eyes are now on Transport Focus to see how they respond to the hundreds of thousands of responses that we believe they have received, as there is still an opportunity here to do the right thing and stop these plans now.

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“But in the meantime, we stand firm – and we will keep fighting.”

Featured Image – RDG