2019 and Beyond

As we reach the end of 2018, it is a good time to take inventory of the state of step-free access projects in London. Unfortunately, this year has been characterised by a series of high-profile delays, ranging from the undefined Crossrail delay to the late introduction of new Overground trains. However, there are many other accessibility schemes in progress, and they each have their own triumphs and failures. And so, this post will be an overview of a variety of projects.

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Delays and Disappointment: Crossrail’s Snowball Effect

I am currently on holiday in Colombia this week, so I was not expecting to do a longer post until I got back to the UK. Unfortunately, these past few days have brought a barrage of extremely negative news regarding future step-free access schemes in London. At the centre of this disaster is the Crossrail project’s never-ending delays and rising costs. As TfL struggles to get the megaproject under control, everything else, including accessibility, is experiencing severe setbacks.

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London Assembly Transport Committee Report

A few months ago, the London Assembly Transport Committee held a consultation aimed at investigating ways to improve London’s railway network to make it more efficient, more accessible, and fit-for-purpose. Not counting organisations, I was one of 11 members of the public to submit a written response to the consultation, which you can read in my previous post located here. Yesterday, the final report was finally released. While it does contain good recommendations to achieve a network that is reliable, welcoming, and that has metro-like frequencies, I found the report to be lacking in detail and its proposals for accessibility were far below what I expected.

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Staffing and Assisted Travel Consulation

Continuing with upgrading the official SfL map, I am happy to announce that the map now includes unstaffed stations as well as a three-tiered hierarchy describing the degrees of staffing. Coincidentally, today the Office of Rail and Road has released a consultation regarding assisted travel on the National Rail network. The consultation proposes changes to the assistance process in hopes of simplifying bookings and making information more easily accessible and accurate.

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Map Update!

As of yesterday, Victoria Underground station is step-free to all Underground lines! While level boarding is now possible on the District/Circle line platforms, beware of the curved platforms that result in a wide range of gap sizes (small ramps are also available if needed). Here is a diagram showing the current layout of the station:

Completed Victoria Underground station

There is also an updated SfL map, that you can access below:

London TravelWatch Report on Step-Free Stations

In preparation for next week’s London TravelWatch Board meeting on 23rd October, numerous documents to be discussed at the meeting have been made available. Of these, one of the documents deals with an update on the state of step-free stations in London. This post will go over the main points of what the document covers, and also what it DOESN’T cover.

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