The station's ticket office was locked Thursday and Friday

(updates added at bottom) Passengers for the South West Train services were left unable to purchase tickets before travelling this morning due to a lack of staff and a ticket machine that was ‘out of order’.

The situation may continue through the weekend, too, as South West trains shut the station on weekends last year.

Several passengers, including a Parish Councillor, were not pleased by this turn of events, especially given the effort that went into trying to get assurances from South West Trains management that adequate cover would be in place.

The train ticket machine displayed 'Out of Order' on Friday.

FORCED HOLIDAY DATES

The regular ticket seller was told by SW Trains management to take his holiday this and next week – but management did not put replacement staff in to cover the complete period. This has meant the waiting room was locked Thursday and today; and people were unable to purchase tickets today, Friday, when the machine ran out of blank cards to print tickets on.

It is understood that partial ticketing and waiting room services will be available next week.

NO SEATING

Passengers also reported of often not being able to find a seat on the trains heading towards London – a situation that has become more frequent since a temporary car park opened on the site of the former Railway pub they say.

Written queries sent to SW Trains customer service last week have not yet been answered except to say that a full reply within 20 working days, as per their Passenger’s Charter, would be forthcoming.

No tickets can be bought at Whitchurch Hampshire's train station.

Paul 6202 (he would not give his surname) at SW Trains customer service said, “People can buy their tickets from the guard on train.”

EMAIL SENT

Paul continued, “The machine has run out of tickets and we are are gettting someone out to fix the machine. An email is being sent to the station area manager to arrange for tickets to be put into machine today.”

Regarding the standing-room only situation, Paul 6202 said, “It is a busy time on the trains [in the mornings]”.

Paul 6202 confirmed that written queries to SW Trains were in a backlog – only ones received before 5 May 2011 have been responded to.

Aside: the train timetables are changing on Sunday – be sure to check if your train times have been altered.

UPDATES

Mon 23 May 2011 9:30a SW Trains customer representative Paul Makin (another Paul, not related to Paul 6202 in main story) stated that the area manager had been contacted and promised that the ticket machine would be put back into service later today. He could not confirm whether someone would be covering at the station for the remainder of the week.

Mon 23 May 2011 9:10a The ticket machine remains ‘Out of Service’. A SW Trains revenue employee at the station today, coincidently named Paul, said that he had not been given the access keycode to open the ticket office and that his personal portable ticketing machine had broken down. Once again, passengers were being told to buy tickets from the guard on the train.

Patrtick at SW Trains customer service (0845 6000 650, then option 4) this morning said that he would contact TCU, the company that services the ticket machine at the station to have it repaired and/or refilled. Aside: Patrick could not find a ‘Paul 6202’ in their ‘customer service’ office but maybe there was another in the ‘customer relations’ office (!).

Sat 21 May 2011: A person called “LynnP” on WhitchurchForums.org.uk said she had contacted SW Trains customer service on Saturday. She stated, “If you need to collect prepaid tickets you need to travel to another station to collect them and South West trains will refund the fare. Otherwise you have to buy tickets from the guard on the train.”