CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop the closure of a ticket office at Handforth railway station mounted a demonstration on Saturday.

Friends of Handforth Station (FoHS), a rail users group, were joined by residents and councillors from Handforth Town Council and Cheshire East Council.

FoHS president Mike Bishop said they have received many supportive messages from passengers.

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He said: “The support of the local community and Handforth Town Council has been marvellous.

“However, we need many more people to object to the ticket office closure.”

The ticket office at Handforth station, run by Northern Trains, is one of many throughout England threatened with closure under a proposal made by the Rail Delivery Group.

Several train companies have announced plans to shut ticket offices as more passengers switch to buy tickets online.

Campaigners believe the closure will negatively impact rail passengers and other users of the station.

The ticket office offers street level shelter from the weather, face-to-face contact with a uniformed staff member when dealing with travel problems, the ability to use cash to purchase tickets/.

Staff also provide a watchful eye for the safety of those working at platform level (including members of the Friends of Handforth Station, FoHS), deterrence of ticket dodgers, and the routine maintenance of the building.

The planned closure of the ticket office at Handforth station has come as a great disappointment to FoHS.

This group of volunteers from the local community was founded by Mike Bishop in 1996.

They use the ticket office for floral displays, exhibitions of artwork, tool storage and the supply of water and electricity.

The activity of FoHS has led to many awards under the Cheshire Best Kept Stations scheme and to a grant of less than two million pounds from Access for All for the installation of lifts.

It seems likely that, if closure of the ticket office goes ahead, the future activity of FoHS will be seriously impaired.

Those wishing to show their support for keeping Handforth’s ticket office open are encouraged to e-mail an objection to ticket office closure to

Local residents can express their support by signing a petition to keep ticket offices open at

So far around 73,000 signatures have been collected.

Once it reaches 100,000 a debate in parliament will be considered.