Warning over ticket office closures

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Rail passengers were warned today that stations with links to Beatles songs could lose their ticket offices if the Government accepts closure plans.

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) targeted rail users in Liverpool as part of its campaign to keep open hundreds of ticket offices.

The union has warned that 675 ticket offices could close if the Government accepts recommendations in the McNulty report into the industry.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle joined TSSA deputy leader Manuel Cortes and union members at the Labour Party conference, leafleting passengers at Liverpool's Mossley Hill station, near Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, which featured in two Beatles songs.

The union said the station is one of more than 40 in the Liverpool area which could lose their ticket offices if ministers accept the McNulty report.

Mr Cortes said: "We believe that ticket offices offer a vital public service to all passengers, offering them cheaper tickets than any machines.

"But we think the closure of Mossley Hill is particularly crass, given the service it offers to countless Beatles fans who want to retrace their heroes' footsteps and often need help to do so.

"Tourism is now a vital part of the Liverpool economy and we want to encourage it. This would be a backward step."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are currently considering the findings of Sir Roy McNulty's independent report, and any of his proposed changes to rail fares or ticketing will be examined as part of a Government review."