Locals have celebrated the scrapping of planned ticket office closures that sparked outrage in the town.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals, which were brought forward due to pressure from ministers to cut costs, following a consultation.

The proposals to close railway ticket offices in England “did not meet the high thresholds” of serving rail passengers, the minister said.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) unveiled proposals in July which could have lead to nearly all offices being shut, with facilities only remaining open at the busiest stations.

It said moving ticket office staff on to station platforms and concourses would “modernise customer service”.

Watford councillors, commuter groups, and the local RMT had all expressed their concerns over potential job losses, safety, and accessibility for disabled or older travellers.

Watchdog Transport Focus has now confirmed it had objected to all of the proposals to close railway station ticket offices in England.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Following analysis of the 750,000 responses to the consultation and in-depth discussions with train companies, Transport Focus is objecting to the proposals to close ticket offices.”

He revealed that it secured amendments and changes but “serious overall concerns remain about how potentially useful innovations, such as ‘welcome points’, would work in practice”.

“Passengers must be confident they can get help when needed and buy the right ticket in time for the right train,” Mr Smith added.

In a statement today (October 31), Mr Harper said that the government will continue work to reform the railways.

Robin Hall from the Watford Rail Users Group, which had shared its fears over the plan, said that he welcomed today's announcement but is still worried about what future measures could be in the pipeline.

“The initial reaction is that it's good news but there is still concern about what the next stage will be in terms of the government’s apparent plan to reduce costs,” he said.

The commuter group also highlighted that the consultation process with London Northwestern Trains' parent company West Midlands Trains is uniquely still ongoing, because it made "significant changes" to its proposals in mid-October, according to Transport Focus.

Councillor Ian Stotesbury, who is responsible for transport in Watford, said: “It's great to see that we are expecting a U-turn on closing the ticket offices.”

He thanked those who got involved in the campaign and emphasised the importance of protecting access for vulnerable people.

Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Watford Matt Turmaine said the local party had "campaigned hard" against the closures, including work in the council, encouraging people to share objections, and with trade unions.

"It is passengers who will now benefit from this reversal and we in Watford Labour Party are delighted to see it.”