Chairman's Blog - Sept 2023


You will have seen from the Press that rail companies are planning to close ticket offices all over the country. South West Rail is no exception.   They set out details of their proposed changes and closures at Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations, and organised a public consultation, with replies extended to 1 September.

We sent the following e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“Our Residents’ Association represents 2000 people living in the areas of Raynes Park and Motspur Park railway stations. Both stations are extremely busy throughout the day and not only in the main commuting hours.

We wish to comment on and to protest about the proposed plans to close or reduce the manning of ticket offices at these two stations.

Many of our residents are elderly or disabled and find it difficult or impossible to buy tickets or railcards online, or to operate the ticket machines at the stations. This will prevent their using the railways at all.

Many journeys from the London suburbs are not simply to the central London stations but to other destinations all over the country.  To many destinations, there are alternative train companies offering differing fares, some usable only at set and limited times, and with tickets which are not usable on their competitors. Ticket machines do not offer these options in a way that people can readily understand, and most people need the advice of an experienced ticket clerk.  

Even those who are able bodied need advice from time to time about routing and timing of journeys.

It is clearly not enough to say that there will still be staff on the platforms who can assist. They cannot be expected to make sure that people safely enter and exit from trains at the same time as answering queries, sometimes complicated, on these matters.  If it will be part of their duties to issue tickets, that will detract, perhaps fatally, from their attention in making sure that passengers are safe.

At both stations, there are wide gaps between the platform edge and the trains, and great care is needed to get on and off, and assistance is needed not only for the elderly and disabled, but for those with luggage or with young children in prams or pushchairs. In the case of Raynes Park this is exacerbated by the pronounced curve which particularly affects platform 1. 

We would urge you to revise your plans to ensure that there is always a manned ticket office at both stations from early morning until the middle of the evening.”


John Nicholson, one of our Road Stewards, reports that stickers have appeared on post boxes in Claremont Avenue, Burlington Road/Cavendish Avenue, Seaforth Avenue, and West Barnes Lane next to the GP surgery, and other locations in the KT3 area, revising collection times. These state that “from 4 September the final collection from this post-box will be made no earlier than 9 am Monday to Friday and 7 am on Saturday”. This change is said to be “in order to improve efficiency.” There has been no consultation with users, and, of course, it represents greater inconvenience for customers.  This is yet another instance of organisations reducing services to the public while claiming that they are an improvement!

 John Elvidge

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