UNSTAFFED railway stations encourage troublemakers, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman told the Commons.

He said such stations led to more graffiti and made it easier for vandals to put objects on railway tracks.

"I have seen newly painted stations where the graffiti has been wiped out and the stations have been cleaned up.

"But the graffiti starts to appear the next day because the stations are unmanned," said Mr Sheerman.

He warned that unstaffed stations would lead to a serious accident on the railways.

Transport Minister Kim Howells replied: "We are very concerned that people should feel safe and secure in stations.

"The best way of doing that is to ensure there are staff to meet the train when it comes in and to make sure everybody is on the train safely when it leaves.

"Unfortunately, there are a great many stations where the number of people passing through is very small.

"It's not economically possible to make sure there are staff at such places 24 hours a day."