Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line Response to the Ticket Office consultation from Northern Trains Ltd
This response to the above consultation is written on behalf of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL). We fully subscribe to the comprehensive response submitted by our sister organisation the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company (see the attachment below) and wish simply to highlight a few concerns which are unique to our role in supporting the railway.
The Settle-Carlisle Line is a 72-mile section of the long distance through route from London via Leeds and Settle to Carlisle and Scotland. While FoSCL has a strong interest in the section between Leeds and Settle Junction, others have dealt with these in their submissions and we shall reserve our comments on this consultation to the 10 stations between Settle and Carlisle for which FoSCL volunteers are the designated Station Adopters. While Carlisle is the northern terminus of this line, we are not actively involved with that station, situated as it is on the West Coast Main Line.
The remaining stations have all been adopted by FoSCL. They are:
- Kirkby Stephen
Those shown in bold are currently staffed, all are under the control of Northern Trains. Both Settle and Appleby ticket offices will close.
FoSCL has grave concerns over the proposals outlined in the documents. These concerns are comprehensively covered by the SCRDC’s submission, with the exception of those listed below which are unique to us.
It is official Northern Trains policy for stations to be adopted by volunteers who maintain the gardens and keep the premises tidy generally. Will they now be expected to do more? Will they be expected to be present on the station and provide information and assistance to passengers when the Journey Maker is not there? If so, this would seem to us to be unreasonable.
Alternative Uses for Stations
The Government has in recent years been pushing for stations to be put to good use by the local community, as their former railway-based usage becomes redundant. This is totally ignored by the current consultation’s rather blinkered approach, focussing as it does purely on rail travel.
The Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line have been putting a part of Settle and Appleby station buildings to alternative use for many years by running a shop at each location. At Appleby the shop opens directly on to the platform, so it is immaterial whether the station is staffed or not, except for the need to have access to the ladies’ toilet.
At Settle the shop, which sells take-away teas and coffees to passengers as well as Settle-Carlisle memorabilia and other railway-related items, is accessed from the entrance lobby to the ticket office. It is not clear whether this lobby will remain open when the station is unstaffed. If not, then a key must be entrusted to a shop volunteer. Likewise a key to the toilets must be available when the shop is open for the benefit of the volunteers and for that matter, passengers.
Further keys, for instance the key to the shed shared with the SCRDC which holds a variety of publications needed by the shop and our On Train Guides, are held either in the shop or the booking office. Again, arrangements must be made for these to be available at all times.
This consultation is rather restricted in its scope and no consideration has been given to the wider implications of the removal of ticket offices. We are very much in agreement with the response sent in by the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company, with the addition of the points made above.
While we recognise the need to discontinue most of the traditional ticket offices in today’s world, we do not believe that the proposals have been sufficiently thought through, and we sincerely hope that we shall be able to influence its roll-out for the benefit of railway passengers and other visitors to the stations.
If you would like to respond personally to the consultation before 1st September you are welcome to use the draft email attached below.
Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line
Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales No.14240068
Registered Office: 74 Springfield Road, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 5LX