Train station ticket offices across south Cumbria are at risk of closure, according to a rail union.

Rail union RMT revealed ‘imminent plans’ by the rail industry for mass closures of ticket offices across the network, with over 1,000 ticket offices at impending risk of closure including at Oxenholme, Windermere, Appleby, Grange, Barrow and Ulverston.

But a spokesman from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, said no decisions had been made over the future of the country’s ticket offices.

However, they added that many jobs in the industry would need to change as more passengers ‘migrate’ to digital technology.

“The pandemic has been an unprecedented financial shock to the railway,” said the RDG spokesman.

“While no decisions have been taken over ticket offices, with the acceleration of changing travel patterns and more passengers migrating to digital technology, many jobs will need to change to become more passenger-centric.

“Train companies want to work with unions on how to address those changes, while making sure the industry takes no more than its fair share from the taxpayer.”

In a statement from RMT, which represents rail, maritime and transport workers, it said that the ‘slashing’ of ticket office hours and the possible closure of ticket offices would make the railway ‘less safe, secure and accessible and create a ‘muggers paradise’ across the network’.

The union has now launched a public and political campaign to fight what it called ‘short-sighted and damaging attacks’ on rail staff and urged passengers and politicians to act to ‘protect their ticket offices’.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The rail industry has made no secret of its goal of closing all ticket offices, and the floodgates have now been opened for an annihilation of ticket offices across the network.

“Ticket office staff not only enhance the passenger experience, but they ensure our railways are safe, secure and accessible. Wholescale ticket office closures would be disastrous for passengers and leave our railway deserted. Disabled and elderly passengers will be particularly affected.

“This once more proves that the government’s 'levelling up' agenda is a sham and that England's rail is being downgraded driving unnecessary social tensions between Britain's nations and demonstrating a political choice has been made to downgrade England's rail users compared to Wales and Scotland.”