MERSEYRAIL have denied reports that staffed ticket offices are to be phased out of Ellesmere Port.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association warned 675 ticket offices in England and Wales could close, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs, under recommendations in a Government-commissioned report.

The union said it had discovered a ‘hit list’ in a report drawn up by Sir Roy McNulty on how to achieve savings in the railway industry.

The list included Ellesmere Port and Hooton stations.

With Little Sutton, Capenhurst and Overpool already without staff, that would have left every station in the area unmanned.

But Rudi Boersma, spokesman for Merseyrail – who would ultimately decide if staff would be removed – denied the company had any plans to lay off the staff.

He said: “They’ve applied a one-size-fits-all rule across every station in the UK.

“We have absolutely no plans to change the staffing.

“One of the strong points of Merseyrail is that nearly all stations have staff.”

The report recommends the replacement of ticket offices with machines.

TSSA leader Gerry Doherty called on Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to reject the cutbacks, warning that passengers, especially women, will feel less safe travelling, and will find it more difficult to buy tickets.

Mr Doherty said: “Not only are unmanned stations less secure, tickets bought from machines are usually more expensive. Philip Hammond should come to the dispatch box in the next few days and give a clear undertaking that he is going to ditch these draconian cuts in services to passengers.”

The union is launching an SOS (Save Our Station ticket offices) campaign which will tour the party conferences over the next four weeks urging MPs to save local ticket offices in their constituencies.

The Government is expected to respond fully next month to the report, which maintained the railway industry could save £1bn a year.

The TSSA said those on the list were all listed as ‘category E’ stations, serving fewer than 250,000 passengers a year and where ticket offices open for less than 10 hours a day.