We had some good news last week about our ticket office at Mansfield Station, which has now been saved from closure after a Government consultation.
I'm grateful to Government for listening to residents and asking train operators to withdraw their plans to close ticket offices across the country, including at Mansfield Station.
East Midlands Rail have also confirmed that operations at Mansfield Station will carry on as normal too, bringing much needed reassurance for residents.
A number of residents, particularly vulnerable or disabled rail users, had been in touch with me over the consultation period to express concerns about the potential closure, and I passed these on to Ministers as well as feeding into the consultation myself.
Ministers had always been clear with rail companies that they had a very high bar that would need to be met, in terms of maintaining the quality of services for passengers, before they would consider closing ticket offices.
If any closures were to happen, it shouldn’t be at the expense of these vulnerable passengers, and they've decided that this bar has not been reached. So I’m pleased that rail operators have been told that their plans cannot go ahead.
Whilst reform is clearly needed to make our railways sustainable for the future, we need to ensure our existing infrastructure is up to the challenge, so recent funding announcements such as the £36bn billion ‘Network North’ will bring some fantastic opportunities to our part of the world.
Alongside this funding, we will soon have new transport powers coming to our region which can help us to do things better and more efficiently, like integrating different services across multiple modes of transport, and improving ticketing to make travel easier and cheaper, for example.
Our first ever regional mayor being elected in May next year will have over £1.5bn to spend on transport, giving us the funding and clout to radically change public transport in places like Mansfield, and enable people to travel further at less cost.
Amongst many other projects, this investment means we can finally get on with improving local rail services, extending the Robin Hood Line, opening Warsop station for the first time since 1955 and linking Edwinstowe, Ollerton and Sherwood Forest via rail.
With the right investment in rail we can ensure people in north Nottinghamshire have access to the same jobs and education opportunities as those living closer to our cities like Nottingham or Sheffield.
This will all be game-changing and the funding is substantial enough to ensure we can deliver the kind of reforms we need to properly improve our public transport.
I’m pleased that Government is putting investment into our rail network, consulting to support vulnerable passengers, keeping ticket offices open, and making the big investment decisions that are necessary to ensure we can deliver public transport fit for the future.