Campaigners are celebrating news that rail ticket offices across Salford have been saved from closure.

Plans to close hundreds of ticket offices – including Salford Central, Eccles, Swinton and Walkden – have been dropped.

The government has done a U-turn on its closure plans despite declaring most ticket offices were no longer needed. Only Salford Crescent would have remained.

Salford Freccles, a non-profit organisation which works to preserve and improve Eccles train station, was delighted by the policy change.

The group, spearheaded by Chair, Steven Hopkins, had strongly opposed the closure of these ticket offices. These messages were sent to Transport Focus, undertaking the consultation on the issue.

Eccles Train Station Ticket Office, June 2013 – Image by Mark Charnley

Elizabeth Charnley, secretary for Freccles, said: “We are over the moon that our ticket office is not going to close.

“We have recently celebrated our 18th ‘birthday’ and the new campaigning for the new, improved and very functional ticket office is one of our proudest achievements.”

One of the biggest pressure groups which forced the government to make a U-turn in their plans has been the disabled community across the country. Back when the proposals were being made, train companies said that only 12 per cent of tickets were now bought at station kiosks.

In September, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak echoed a similar sentiment, claiming that “the right thing for the British public and British tax payers” as “only one in 10 tickets are sold currently in ticket offices”.

However, Kevin Whittle, who is 67 and retired, said: “What about old people? And people who are wheelchair bound? They need ticket offices. They shouldn’t close any. Just because its one in 10? They should always be there for people. I can’t understand it.”

Louise Rubin, Head of Policy at disability equality charity Scope, said: “This is a victory for the hundreds of thousands of disabled people who called out the absurdity of closing ticket offices.

“These plans made no sense in the context of our inaccessible rail network, and would have resulted in more people being stranded without the support they need.”

Representatives from the Blackfriars and Trinity Ward of Salford Council also welcomed the news as a huge victory, and congratulated those who had a part in forcing the change.

Salford Councillor Jane Hamilton added: “I’m delighted that this decision has been made, the ticket offices are much needed for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people, I’m glad sense has prevailed.”

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