Ticket office closure claims quashed

TRAIN operator First Capital Connect (FCC) has quashed fears that ticket offices at its stations will be permanently closed.

The Crow last week revealed that Ashwell and Morden and Meldreth stations were earmarked for the permanent closure of their ticket offices in a Government report prepared by Sir Roy McNulty.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said the findings of Sir Roy’s report will be examined as part of a Government review, with a detailed response expected next month.

But FCC has now written to staff, explaining that the train company intends to ignore Government advice if it concludes that ticket offices should be closed.

A company spokesman said: “We have absolutely no plans to close any ticket offices at First Capital Connect stations.

“It’s a report that’s looking generally across the whole country.

“We have reassured our staff because the way the report has been written has the potential to be quite alarming to our staff.”

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Rail users and commuters had already slammed the suggestion – with many praising the hard work of Meldreth’s station master.

One passenger, a teacher, who did not want to be named, said: “We have a wonderful station master and it would be more difficult without him.”

Another Melbourn commuter who travels daily to London also praised the station master and said rail users would suffer without a manned ticket office.

“It would be terrible. He’s brilliant in there – he is fantastic,” said Francis Desmarais.

“My train was a half-an-hour late and he came out and made me a cup of tea. He would be greatly missed.”

Others also praised the assistance provided by members of staff.

County councillor Susan van de Ven, chairman of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail Users Group, said FCC had been in contact and reassured her that Meldreth station would not close.

“I have had two conversations with First Capital Connect and they confirmed there are no plans to close Meldreth station office,” she said.