Ticket office closure signals Carnforth station threat

Carnforth Railway Station
Carnforth Railway Station

The closure of Carnforth Travel Information Centre is a “backward step” and would put the whole station in jeopardy, according to one of the town’s city councillors.

Lancashire County Councillors voted in favour of closing the ticket office at Carnforth Railway Station, as well as others across the county, including Morecambe, at a meeting last week.

The proposal is part of the latest round of budget cuts.

Conservative Coun Peter Yates, who represents Carnforth on Lancaster City Council, said that the community now needed to come together to work out a way forward.

The ticket office has been closed for several months due to building work at the station, and it is now unlikely to re-open.

Coun Yates said: “It was due to re-open within a fortnight but that’s looking unlikely now.

“We’re going to find a solution to this issue though.

“We’re extremely grateful to the county council for their support so far, but this decision could well put the whole station in jeopardy. It’s a massive step backwards.”

The county council estimates that the centre costs around £12,000 a year to run.

County Coun Lizzi Collinge said she led efforts to save the Information Centre at the budget meeting.

She said she proposed an amendment to retain the Carnforth office, with funding from transitional reserves to work on increasing viability, but this was voted down by the Conservative majority.

She said: “I have offered my support to residents and councillors from every political party to keep Carnforth open.

“The Centre is essential for the area’s many older and disabled residents, who rely on the face to face service.

“The Conservative’s assertions in the council chamber that everyone can just use their smartphones to book tickets overlooks the barriers people with disabilities face using some technology.

“The office also supports the viability of the Heritage Centre and small local businesses in the station.

There is also concern that the forthcoming Northern Connect Service between Barrow and Manchester Airport will only stop at staffed stations. Removing the staffed office risks excluding Carnforth from this vital service and the area from arriving tourists.”

“I now hope that the further consultation period will allow time to get a solution and save the travel office.”

To have your say email haveyoursay@lancashire.gov.uk, or write to Lancashire County Council, PO Box 78 County Hall, Fishergate, Preston. PR1 8XJ.