Closure threat to Carnforth ticket office

The ticket office at Carnforth Station could close if Lancashire County Council proposals go ahead. PA Photo: Owen Humpreys.
The ticket office at Carnforth Station could close if Lancashire County Council proposals go ahead. PA Photo: Owen Humpreys.

Proposals to close Carnforth Station ticket office has caused uproar among the community.

The ticket office at Carnforth Railway Station could be under threat as Lancashire County Council looks to save an £7m over the next three years.

It means the ticket office, which has been closed recently due to restoration works, could be shut permanently, leaving railway users to buy tickets online or elsewhere.

Pat Woof, Mayor of Carnforth, has said closing the ticket office will be disastrous for Carnforth and surrounding villages.

“If you want the best value when planning or buying rail tickets you need a person to discuss it with.

“Not everyone has a computer or make sense of the information.

“I personally used the knowledge of the booking clerks at Carnforth, since the repairs started if you book in advance you need to go to Lancaster for your tickets.”

Councillor Woof has also said the proposed closure will affect Carnforth Heritage Centre, who may lose revenue from the building.

Its lease could be terminated, which would stop the service providing travel information and train tickets.

Lancashire County Council say the cuts are necessary as they are in a position where they need to make substantial budget savings.

County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The proposals for Carnforth Station are going to our cabinet meeting today (Thursday).

“If they are agreed, a public consultation would then take place into the plans.

“This would give people the opportunity to have their say on the proposals to close the ticket office, which is currently run by the county council.

“It would not affect any other parts of the station.

“Ticket sales are principally the responsibility of the train companies, and the county council needs to focus its limited resources on providing statutory services.”

Carnforth councillor Paul Gardner said: “It’s taking money from one pot of the budget to another.

“We get 50,000 visitors a year, how bad will it look when visitors come and see the ticket office is closed?”

“This facility is paramount for the many passengers who use the station,” said Pat Clapham, Director Carnforth Station and Railway Trust.

“Not only does it provide a wealth of information on travelling across Britain by train but it also facilitates the redemption of purchased online tickets.

“As there is no ticket machine on the station many passengers would no longer be able to get their tickets, causing great inconvenience.

“It would be a real blow to the town if this facility is permanently removed and, for station as famous as Carnforth, something of an embarrassment, but I realise that local amenity is rarely taken into account these days in council cuts.”

Jobs could also be lost at Morecambe Visitor Information Centre (VIC) if council budget proposals are given the go ahead.

The proposals are set to go under consultation with users, staff, district and parish councils and others affected before the final decision.