The battle to save Devon’s railway station ticket offices has stepped up a gear, with rail operators being summoned to explain the issue at County Hall.

Devon county councillors have voted to call representatives of the rail companies before their scrutiny committee as they fight to save the service.

Up to 1,000 ticket offices are due to close over the next three years, with rail companies claiming it will allow them to move staff into more useful roles on station platforms.

They say fewer train tickets are being bought over the counter, with the majority of sales online or from ticket machines.

Disability groups have led the protests, saying manned counters provide a vital service, and some stations in rural Devon still have the highest proportion of in-person sales in the country.

In July, members of the RMT union and Exmouth station ticket staff held a protest outside the town's railway station

Cllr Fred Caygill attended the demonstration, saying it would be a "retrograde step" if the ticket station closed.

Now, Cllr Alan Connett (Lib Dem, Exminster and Haldon) has urged his colleagues to support the campaign, and although members were warned that the official consultation has ended, Cllr David Cox (Lib Dem, Teignmouth) said the county council’s voice could still be heard.

The county council has now resolved to make its case strongly to transport secretary Mark Harper and to underline its opposition in writing to the rail operators.

Rail company representatives will also be invited to attend a scrutiny meeting as soon as possible.