The consultation closed on Friday (1 September), having started on 5 July and having its original deadline extended due to the volume of responses.
The two bodies have revealed that stakeholders and members of the public raised concerns about accessibility, safety and security, issues with ticket machines and future staffing of stations.
They will now analyse the train operating companies' proposals and the consultation responses in details, and will report to the operators by 31 October. They will publish their response to each train company's proposals online, and will include an overview of the number of consultation responses received and the main issues raised.
Transport Focus has published the criteria it is using to assess the proposals and inform its decision.
If Transport Focus or London TravelWatch object to a company's closure plan, the company can refer its proposal to the Secretary of State, who will make a final decision. Department for Transport guidance sets out the approach the Secretary of State will take if this happens.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “I am grateful to all who have taken the time to contribute to the consultation and their views will form a vital part of the process as we move towards our response.
“With more than half a million responses received, we'll review them and the train company proposals to assess whether or not they will improve the quality of service for passengers according to our criteria.”
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch claimed that this number of responses was “unprecedented” and “only reiterated the strength of feeling among the public against the dehumanisation of the rail network.
“We hope that the watchdogs will reflect on the huge opposition to this monumental act of social vandalism and defend a universal public service which should be available to all.
“The drive to close ticket offices in the name of profits is clearly a political decision of this out-of-touch Tory government and it must be stopped.”
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We appreciate all the input we've received so far from the public and stakeholders. We want all our passengers to feel supported during any transition, and train companies will now work with independent passenger bodies at a local level to take on board the feedback.
“In the meantime, we will continue to engage with passengers, accessibility and safety groups to make a better and more robust railway.”
TSSA's Interim General Secretary, Peter Pendle, told Harper that the 680,000 responses had been ‘unprecedented' with very few likely to be in favour of the Conservative government's plans which ‘have caused uproar'.
Pendle goes on to state in the letter – ‘At a time when passengers are crying out for a fair deal the government seems intent on delivering a post-pandemic body blow which tears down our railways. I'm afraid this is a failure to read the room'.
He calls on Harper to ‘take the necessary steps without delay to halt these deeply unpopular and unnecessary plans for good'.