SOME railway station ticket offices have been closed for full days because of staff shortages, while at least one locally has shut for entire weeks.

More than 20 offices in the South Western Railway network have been closed owing to the lack of staff.

Parkstone was among those which closed for whole weeks, while Sway, Hamworthy, Wool, Christchurch, Pokesdown and Branksome have shut for days.

The rail operator has said it is working to recruit new staff.

Most of the affected stations have ticket machines which can also put passengers in touch with help.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMB union, said: “This is just another example of the penny-pinching SWR franchise cutting corners and services to their passengers in the interest of maximising their profits.”

He said the business should be “stripped of its contract”.

A South Western Railway spokesperson said: “We know that recent boundary changes in our station management teams have left the new South region temporarily short of relief staff. We are now in the process of recruiting several new ticket office relief posts to address this.

“Additionally, we have experienced higher than usual turnover in the South region, with several ticket clerks leaving for promotional and development reasons and some long-term ill health issues.

“We are now recruiting customer ambassadors for our stations, but the additional customer service training they receive means it take around four months before they are ready to deploy to stations. “We are doing all that we can to minimise the disruption to our customers by moving staff around to cover any temporary shortages.”