Local MPs have expressed their delight at the news that ‘bone-headed’ plans to close rail ticket offices in south Cumbria have been scrapped.

MPs Simon Fell and Tim Farron have reacted to the announcement from the Transport Secretary Mark Harper that plans to close hundreds of rail ticket offices in England have been shelved.

Train station ticket offices previously earmarked to face significantly reduced staffed hours included those at Windermere, Grange, Ulverston, Appleby and Oxenholme.

Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness, Simon Fell, said: “These proposals were particularly bone-headed. They would have left people with accessibility issues stranded and severely limited access to the local area for visitors and residents alike.

“Having lobbied the Rail Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport about this issue personally, I am delighted by the result.

“This would never have been achieved were it not for the people who very kindly lent their voices to our campaign.”

In October Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron, led a debate at parliament against the proposed cuts to ticket offices.

The Westmorland Gazette: MP Tim Farron And Local Lib Dem Councillor Jenny Boak Outside Grange StationMP Tim Farron And Local Lib Dem Councillor Jenny Boak Outside Grange Station (Image: PA)

Mr Farron said: “Ticket offices are a lifeline for elderly and disabled people, as well as the many hundreds of thousands of people who visit Cumbria by train every year.

“I’m massively grateful to everyone who campaigned against these appalling proposals, including disability campaigners, the RMT and to everyone who signed the petition I presented to Parliament last month.”

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) revealed in the summer plans to close the majority of ticket offices across England in a bid to make the network more “sustainable”.

Over 100,000 people signed a national petition calling on the government to require train operators to keep ticket offices and platform staff at train stations.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The consultation on ticket offices has now ended, with the Government making clear to the rail industry throughout the process that any resulting proposals must meet a high threshold of serving passengers.

“We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in Parliament.

“The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers, and so the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.”

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group said: "These proposals were about adapting the railway to the changing needs of customers in the smartphone era, balanced against the significant financial challenge faced by the industry as it recovers from the pandemic.

“At a time when the use of ticket offices is irreversibly declining, we also want to give our people more enriching and rewarding careers geared towards giving passengers more visible face-to-face support.

“While these plans won’t now be taken forward, we will continue to look at other ways to improve passenger experience while delivering value for the taxpayer. Our priority remains to secure a vibrant long-term future for the industry and all those who work in it.”