Train company restores Post Office services to rural village

A rural community deprived of a Post Office since February 2020 has had their services restored by a train operator.

Avanti West Coast launched a pop-up counter inside the ticket office at Oxenholme station, Cumbria on Monday.

It is the first facility of its kind on the West Coast Main Line, which runs from London Euston to Glasgow.

The entrance to Oxenholme station
The entrance to Oxenholme station (Alamy/PA)

Services include sending letters, returning parcels, banking, paying bills and changing currency and are now available at Oxenholme station between 11am and 1pm on Mondays and from 12.30pm to 2.30pm on Thursdays.

The village of Oxenholme has not had any Post Office services since a branch closed in February 2020.

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “After two and a half years of working with Avanti West Coast and local councillors, I’m delighted that we have finally secured a new Post Office for Oxenholme.

“This is a key local service that residents have been deprived of ever since the previous Post Office closed just before the pandemic, so it’s great news that it’s now open and in a prime location.”

Postmaster Phil Ballantyne on a platform at Oxenholme station
Postmaster Phil Ballantyne on a platform at Oxenholme station (Avanti West Coast/PA)

The counter will be the region’s 11th pop-up Post Office location run by postmaster Phil Ballantyne and his team.

He said: “I know how important it is for people in rural places to have access to essential Post Office services.

“Not only does it enable them to carry out every day errands, but it also brings a sense of community and company for some.

“I’m excited to be expanding my operation to serve Oxenholme with Post Office services they need.”

Oxenholme is the gateway to the Lake District for long-distance railway passengers.

It is connected with the 10-mile branch line to Windermere.

Avanti West Coast regional growth manager Matthew Worman said: “We want to make a difference in the communities we serve and support causes that matter most to them, which is why we’re proud to be hosting a pop-up Post Office for the village of Oxenholme.

“Like the Post Office, we connect people and wanted to play our part to restore access to essential services by utilising space at the station to keep the community connected.”