Plans to close ticket offices across south west London have been halted after London TravelWatch cast doubts on the proposals.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) announced a public consultation on plans to "modernise" many of their busier stations by reducing opening hours in several locations and closing more.

Stations included in the proposals were Battersea Park, Carshalton Beeches, Selhurst, Balham, Sutton, Thornton Heath, and Epsom.

March 17: Sutton Council condemns plans to shut Sutton, Wallington, Carshalton and Carshalton Beeches train station ticket offices

March 7: "Keep our ticket offices open": Campaigners take message to Balham station commuters

The news was met with outrage by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) who claimed that passenger and staff safety would be on the line if staff were asked to work on the platform while handling cash and with fewer members of staff around.

The LTW board, the transport watchdog, did not agree with the proposals "at this stage".

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Public campaigning, led by RMT, has secured a massive victory in the on-going fight to stop these ticket office closures but we still have a long way to go and we must keep the pressure on.

"Govia Thameslink must now drop the whole ill-conceived plan on all routes both inside and outside the London area.

"These plans are driven by the desire to de-staff our railways in the quest for profit and would unleash a wave of ticket office carnage across rail franchises that are already seen as the basket-cases of Britain’s privatised railway network.

"It is clear that Govia could not give two hoots about passenger services, jobs and safety and are prepared to milk these routes for every single penny that they can extract regardless of what the travelling public think of them."

February 22: Consultation into railway ticket office closures across south London labelled "total chaos"

February 9: Train enthusiasts call for 'wave of carnage' ticket office closures at Epsom, Leatherhead and Ashtead to be reversed

An LTW spokesman said its board met on Tuesday, March 22, and considered representations from council leaders, MPs, and London Assembly members as well as 8,000 comments.

It noted areas of concern including the reliability of ticket machines, how and when station hosts would work, and the ability to handle cash transactions.

A spokesman for the watchdog said: "In the light of this uncertainty and the additional feedback we have received, the board felt that it was not able to support the proposals at the moment.

"It suggests GTR should develop a more considered proposal which could be piloted at a few carefully chosen stations."

A GTR spokesman said that it still believed the proposals addressed "aspirations" LTW has for improving staff availability at the stations.

Keith Jipps, for GTR, said: "We welcome this constructive feedback and will be considering our proposals in the light of what has been said.

"We will be improving our smartcard to encourage more people to buy online and will be launching an Oyster-like pay-as-you-go version which will guarantee the cheapest walk-up fare for the day.

"The station hosts would be able to handle cash transactions just as our ticket offices do today.

"All our proposals are based on careful analysis of the current demand at our station ticket offices and changes would only be phased in by testing the station host approach at one or two stations initially."