Sheffield MP launches campaign to save Meadowhall train ticket office amid mass closures

A Sheffield MP has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.
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Most of the country’s railway stations have a ticket office but almost all of them are facing closure within the next three years as part of plans to save money after the Covid-19 pandemic caused a drop in revenue.

As part of these industry-wide changes, Northern Railway plans to shut Meadowhall ticket office and East Midlands Railway plans to cut the opening hours of the ticket booth at Sheffield station.

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Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Hillsborough and Brightside warned it could put disabled and elderly passengers at risk.

Gill Furniss, MP for Hillsborough and Brightside, launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.Gill Furniss, MP for Hillsborough and Brightside, launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.
Gill Furniss, MP for Hillsborough and Brightside, launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.

She also said Northern’s 21-day public consultation – which is currently taking place – was too short and urged the government to halt it in her petition which can be found here.

She said: “Basic questions on the impact on disabled passengers, the elderly and the roll-out of technology in stations have been left unanswered.

“Railroading this plan through without consideration for disabled passengers, the elderly and others only risks exacerbating the managed decline of the rail network.”

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Local Labour politicians have united to condemn the industry changes.

Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.
Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.

Sheffield Council’s transport committee leader councillor Ben Miskell expressed “deep anger and frustration”.

“I am absolutely fuming,” he said. “The government should be encouraging more passengers onto our railways, not cutting them off. It is deeply disheartening to witness the continuous erosion of essential transport services.

“Closing most ticket offices and reducing hours for those lucky enough to stay open will directly impact the most vulnerable members of our society. These closures will make it increasingly challenging for older people, disabled passengers, and those who require assistance to access and navigate our railway system.”

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Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley and shadow secretary of state for transport, wrote to Mark Harper, the secretary of state for transport, raising “deep concern” about the proposals.

Councillor Ben Miskell at Sheffield railway station ticket office. Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.Councillor Ben Miskell at Sheffield railway station ticket office. Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.
Councillor Ben Miskell at Sheffield railway station ticket office. Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has launched a petition challenging the closure of Meadowhall station’s train ticket office as almost all in England are placed under threat.

Plans for Meadowhall ticket office

Northern Railway currently operates 318 stations without ticket offices and plans to close a further 131 stations – including Meadowhall’s which is currently open every day – and reduce the number of hours staff are present there.

These changes are expected to take place over an 18-month period, subject to the current consultation.

There are also plans to alter the ticket office opening hours at another 18 of its stations, including Leeds and Manchester.

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The company said one in six journeys on Northern services were bought through a ticket office compared with almost half in 2018.

It said: “As the railways adapts to evolving customer behaviour and to ensure that it can thrive in the long-term, the industry needs to modernise how rail tickets are sold.”

Northern Railway’s consultation can be found on its website here.

Changes to Sheffield railway station

East Midlands Railway is planning to reduce the opening hours of Sheffield station’s ticket office.

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It is currently open between 5am and 10.50pm, Monday to Saturday, and between 7.45am and 11pm on Sundays.

Proposed hours are 6am until 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 7am until 10pm on Sundays.

East Midland’s consultation can be found on its website here.