CONCERNS have been raised that disabled train users in Riding Mill could be forced to walk 20 minutes to obtain a ticket.

County councillor for the area, Anne Dale, said that ticket machines have been recently installed at stations in Stocksfield and Riding Mill.

Only one machine has been placed at Riding Mill station, on the westbound platform, and the link between the platforms is via stairs up to a footbridge. Coun. Dale said those with disabilities wishing to purchase a ticket would now have to make a 10-minute journey past the pub and into Broomhaugh to access the footpath to take them to the other platform, before retracing their route back around to the eastbound platform.

“It is raising issues for those people who are unable to use the stairs and bridge to cross over to the other platform – people with disabilities are going to have to travel all the way round,” Coun. Dale said.

“It’s unreasonable, tiring and time consuming, especially for those who are not able to use the crossing.

“Certainly in Riding Mill there is a big issue, it’s a long way round which takes about 10 minutes there and 10 minutes back, that’s a long time.”

She said the issue was compounded by the fact passengers were told not to board a train without a ticket, when people had previously bought their tickets on board.

A spokesman for Northern said it was introducing more than 600 new ticket machines across the network.

“Many of the machines we are installing are ‘card only’, but customers will still be able to pay with cash by obtaining a voucher from our machines and then buying from our on-board staff,” he said.