TWO rail companies have stepped in to keep ticket offices which were set for closure open.

Grand Central and Northern reacted after Chester le Track said it could not longer carry on operating at both Eaglescliffe and Chester-le-Street stations where it sells tickets for local services.

Kerry Cross, head of trains and stations for Northern, said: “We recognise the importance of ticket offices to local communities and thanks to a partnership with Grand Central are delighted to announce we will not only be keeping them open, but will also have more staff available to provide advice and information to customers.”

Eaglescliffe ticket office will be operated by Grand Central and will be open every day other than Thursdays and Sundays. Northern will provide further customer service with extra staff at the station to offer help and advice and keep the waiting room open Monday to Saturday.

Northern will also provide staff to operate the ticket office at Chester le Street, which will be open Monday to Saturday from 7am to 1pm.

Grand Central managing director Richard McClean said: “We consulted with customers and local companies and know they prefer to plan journeys and buy tickets in person. They appreciate the personal service and we’re delighted to confirm the ticket office will remain open.