West Dorset’s MP and former train guard Chris Loder has today hailed the announcement that train companies will no longer proceed with plans to close ticket offices in West Dorset, including those at Sherborne and Dorchester South stations.
This follows a sustained campaign from the local MP, who had a 20-year long career in the railway industry prior to becoming elected in 2019, to force a U-turn on these plans. Mr Loder held a Westminster Hall Debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday 19th September in which he decried the closure plans and the impact this would have, particularly on elderly and disabled commuters, and those reliant on cash. Mr Loder also exposed the scandal of booking apps such as Trainline charging customers fares far higher than they would otherwise be able to secure from a ticket office.
Mr Loder said of the announcement today; “this is a fantastic result across West Dorset and the wider region and today, the interests of fairness and inclusion have triumphed. I have campaigned since my election for fairness and accessibility for our railways. For West Dorset, this has meant access ramps opened, platforms resurfaced and access improved for elderly and disabled people. But a big part of this must be people on station platforms to help. South Western Railway’s proposals would not just have closed the offices, but slashed the staffing hours on our stations, putting passengers with additional needs at huge risk. I am very pleased that we have been able to push back against these proposals and I will continue to push for greater inclusion for our elderly and disabled rail users.”