RAIL users are being urged to oppose the planned closures of railway station ticket offices following an announcement by Northern.

The rail operator has listed just 18 stations where ticket offices are expected to remain when the consultation period is over.

If the plans are carried out it will mean Settle will lose its ticket office, while Skipton is reprieved, for now, but Keighley ticket office is earmarked for closure, as well as Ilkley, Yeadon, Guiseley, Horsforth, Shipley and Bradford Forster Square. Users here will have to buy their tickets online or at a machine.

Northern says it currently operates 318 stations without ticket offices and plans to close a further 131, leaving 18 untouched.

Several rail users have expressed their concern and are urging people to make their opinions known as soon as possible.

Michael Slater, from Langcliffe, said: "The proposal states that ‘There will be a Journey Maker presence at all stations’, whatever that may mean. Will there just be someone part-time to help with planning your journey but not sell you a ticket? Some of the assurances made do not seem practicable. Closure of the ticket office should not just be a matter of concern to rail travellers but to Settle itself, being dependent on tourism and the Settle-Carlisle line. Protests submitted by July 28 are required."

Marion Armstrong, from Settle, added: "Settle station is the traditional start of the Settle to Carlisle Railway. It is quite inconceivable that such an important railway station is manned on a part-time basis without a ticket office."

She added that the downside of the track (the side travelling to Carlisle) is only accessible via a heritage footbridge. Staff at the station regularly accompany people over that crossing and it will leave some of the elderly, disabled, buggies, cyclists and those with heavy bags without help.

Marion added she understood the official consultation on the proposals is open until midnight on July 26, not the 28th as printed by Northern rail, although the date of the 28th remains on the website.

Celia Midgeley, of Skipton, added: "The industry claims that only 12 per cent of tickets are now bought at offices. I would argue that 12 per cent is a significant minority that needs not to be brushed aside, a minority than includes many vulnerable people of all ages."

A response to the proposals, can be sent by email to: ticketoffice.Northern@transportfocus.org.uk or Freepost RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport focus, PO Box 5594, Southend on Sea SS1 9PZ including the name of the station.

You can access the public consultation information at: www.northernrailway.co.uk