What Is Proposed?
SENRUG believes every station should have, as a minimum, level access to all platforms, seating and shelters on all platforms, timetables displayed on all platforms and some means of communicating live train running information with passengers. This could be a Customer Information System, Help Point or alternative technology. It should not depend on customers being able or willing to use mobile phones.
Larger stations such as Morpeth which serve inter-city trains should also have a staffed ticket office, waiting room and customer toilet (and baby change facilities), which should be open throughout the day eg from 06:00 to 17:30 and an ATM cash machine.
Passengers should be able to reach platforms at any station without using steps. This is needed not just for those with mobility problems, but also for children in buggies and travellers with luggage. All passengers should also be able to check timetable information, shelter from the elements whilst waiting for a train and to be advised if for any reason their train is not going to arrive on schedule.
Passengers travelling on inter-city trains, where journeys might typically be 3 or 4 hours, expect access to a waiting room, toilet and baby change facilities before they travel. Inter-city passengers are more likely to wish to buy their ticket from a staffed ticket office rather than a machine due to the range of different tickets available, all with different conditions. Additionally, passengers travelling on inter-city trains need more specific advice in the event of disruption, such as whether tickets will be accepted on alternative routes, and deferment of travel, than are given through automated systems.
SENRUG believes either DfT, GBR (Great British Railways) or the North East Joint Transport Committee (NEJTC) should set up a minimum specification of the facilities required at each class of station.
SENRUG’s own proposals are set out in Section 4.2 of its January 2021 response to the North East Transport Plan Consultation Response.
Thanks to SENRUG’s campaigns and lobbying, both Morpeth and Cramlington station now have a CIS (Customer Information Screens) system and PA announcements. At Morpeth, Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) have now finished the renovation of the derelict station buildings (congratulations to GMDT for a fantastic job) and Northern have now increased the hours that Morpeth station is staffed; which in turn increasing the hours the toilet and waiting room are available. SENRUG understands that GMDT will soon have a tenant for the café/ bistro which will further enhance the amenities at Morpeth station.
However, rumours continue to circulate that DfT are pressurising train operators to close station ticket offices across the network. SENRUG does not have any specific details of these proposals. SENRUG is not against reasonable changes in staff roles designed to make station staff more accessible to waiting passengers, but opposes any moves to de-staff stations.