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.

As 2018 is effectively over, no additional step-free stations are expected to open this year. This means that all Crossrail East works are now due in early 2019, as well as those at Tottenham Hale, Meridian Water, and Northumberland Park. This has now been updated on the SfL Future Stations List.

Upcoming Underground stations

Looking at the Underground, there were two stations that were close to opening this year: Finsbury Park and Waterloo (Waterloo & City line). The work at Finsbury Park, which adds two lifts to give access to the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, was meant to open today but has now been pushed back one week according to the Piccadilly Line Twitter account.

Waterloo, whose works are tied to the refurbished former Eurostar platforms 20-24, is expected to become step-free to the Waterloo & City line in late January.

Coupled with the recently completed works at Bank, the W&C line will be the first Underground line to become fully step-free. Unfortunately, one major issue remains. The new lifts will lead to a “peak-hour subway,” which is only opened during the morning and evening peaks. This means that under current plans, step-free access will not be available throughout the majority of the day. Hopefully once the link is open, pressure from accessibility groups will urge rail bosses to reconsider the subway’s opening hours.

Crossrail Woes

I frequently criticise the Crossrail project for failing to live up to its promises of a truly accessible railway. Indeed, with last-minute bombshells hinting at dropped accessibility funding, it is easy to see that even a multibillion-pound project is doing the absolute minimum to accommodate disabled passengers.

As Alan says, this is not surprising, given the lack of progress on this section. There are 10 stations on the Western branch that need step-free access, so any lapse in funding would have devastating consequences for those living in the area. The lack of funding is especially disappointing considering Transport for All fought hard (and won) to force the Government to ensure that every Crossrail station would have step-free access. As this work costs 0.02% of the total Crossrail budget, it is disgraceful that part of it is being cut.

Progress in Ealing!

In slightly happier news, at least we know of two Crossrail West stations that haven’t lost their step-free access funding yet. Over the Christmas period, new accessible footbridges have magically sprouted at Ealing Broadway and West Ealing.

West Ealing footbrige
Ealing Broadway footbridge

As both stations are meant to get a reconstructed ticket hall, it is not clear when the bulk of this work will get done. But it is reassuring to at least see physical progress after months of inactivity.

STAR Project

Looking at the Stratford to Angel Road (STAR) project, it looks like all three stations (Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, and Meridian) are nearing completion.

Meridian Water
Tottenham Hale

Further Underground Delays

Rounding off the latest set of delays, it was reported earlier this month that both the Bank station upgrade and the Northern Line Extension will be delayed almost a year to 2021. While construction itself remains reportedly on-time, TfL would rather both projects open at the same time to avoid additional disruptions to the Northern line.

Access for All

The new funding period for Network Rail’s Access for All begins next year, with ยฃ300m available for new as well as deferred schemes. Before going into that, it is important to keep track of the current projects, lest they get rebranded as “deferred”.

Current Funding

The following is a list of all the current non-deferred Access for All schemes. They are all meant to be completed by 2020. The italicised stations are those where I have not heard about or seen any works, while the bold ones are those that are clearly in progress. If anyone has any updated information about any of these stations, please let me know.

  • Palmers Green
  • Alexandra Palace
  • Shortlands
  • Ewell West
  • Brondesbury
  • Bexley
  • Carshalton
  • Coulsdon South
  • Tottenham Hale
  • West Hampstead
  • Finsbury Park
  • Teddington
  • Plumstead
  • Selhurst

Future Funding

As a reminder, the deferred London stations are Barnes, Battersea Park, Hither Green, Petts Wood, Queen’s Park, Peckham Rye, Seven Sisters, St Mary Cray, and Streatham. The new stations for the schemes will likely not be announced until Spring 2019, but focussing on station nominations is a good way to gain insight on the priorities of TfL and various train operators. Southeastern has been the most vocal London operator, asking its passengers for nominations. These have now been reduced to 22 stations, with 11 of them within Greater London.

The stations are Albany Park, Chislehurst, Clock House, Elmstead Woods, Erith, Falconwood, Kent House, Kidbrooke, Penge East, Sidcup, and West Dulwich.

From TfL’s side, 21 nominations have been put forth. While their identities have not been made publicly available, I can say that they include 7 GTR stations, 4 South Western Railway stations, and 9 stations on the Overground network. Finally, RAIL Magazine 868 reports that train operator c2c has nominated Upminster. Curiously, all of the c2c platforms at Upminster are step-free, and the works are instead meant for the Overground platform of the Romford-Upminster Line.

As the Access for All scheme covers the entire country, it is likely that many of these stations will ultimately not be chosen. Nevertheless, it is good to see that the nominations are tackling important gaps in accessibility and I hope that the most pressing schemes do go ahead.

Additional Schemes

One project that still hasn’t experienced delays is the Overground’s Barking Riverside Extension. A contractor has been appointed for the project, and the station is set to open in late 2021.

Finally, the City of London (Square Mile) has recently launched its latest Transport Strategy Consultation. The strategy covers important proposals to reduce the presence of cars, promote alternate modes of transport, and improve accessibility. I encourage anyone who is interested to read through the proposals and respond to the consultation. Looking at the section on accessibility, the City of London has the ambitious goal to make all of its stations step-free by 2044. With 12 Underground and 6 National Rail stations located in an incredibly dense part of the city, this will be no small feat. The current priority is Bank, which will bring step-free access to the Northern line and DLR.

Interestingly, the document mentions the Moorgate National Rail platforms as a future step-free access project. This is significant as there has been a lot of confusion regarding whether Crossrail works at Moorgate would include these platforms. Unfortunately, it is now clear that the National Rail platforms will remain inaccessible once the Elizabeth Line opens, and another expensive redevelopment will be needed in the near future.

That’s all I have for now. I wish everyone a happy New Year and I will be back next year with more accessibility coverage!

This article was written by SfL

43 thoughts on “2019 and Beyond”

  1. I visited Finsbury Park Station today and none of the new lifts both the lift on Thameslink platform or those from Piccadilly/ Victoria lines were operational with the doors closed and tape across on both north and south bound platforms.

    Today’s Evening Standard carries what looks like the first of a series of reports on the state of Crossrail construction concentrating on Bond Street Station and it doesn’t make good reading given it seems the Station still doesn’t have a proper power supply let alone the state of escalators, subways etc .

    I have added a link below for your and anyone else’s benefit-

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/putting-crossrail-back-on-track-a4034601.html

    1. Great find! There were previous whispers about Leyton but it’s great to finally see concrete funding. There is a notable lack of completion date, but hopefully it will be prioritised given the funding agreement.

  2. News that Len Duval of the GLA has nominated Catford Station as a candidate for Step Free Access under Government Access for All scheme .

    The announcement also shows a link to Mayor Khans letter re 21 stations nominated but link appears not to work for me .

    https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/len-duvall/len-backs-catford-station-to-be-step-free

    I did spot Leytonstone Hgh Road as a nomination on another site but that was all they knew of 21 stations nominated by Mayor Khan.

    1. I actually did get ahold of the list, but I am not publishing yet since it appears as though they dont want it public as of now. In any case, Catford would be an additional station to the 21 official ones.

  3. While searching Step Free Access I came across the following article regarding lack of step free access at Bank Station to the Central Line under existing upgrades with Mayor considering what could be done . Any scheme is complicated by curved platforms at Bank Station . Looks like this will be discussed at a future meeting .

    See link – https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/tfl-considers-expensive-bank-station-redesign/10039364.article?blocktitle=Top-Stories&contentID=18359

  4. I was at Waterloo Station today and signs have been updated to show direction to lift for Waterloo and City Line. While the two new lifts on upper level of former Eurostar terminal have lift to Waterloo and City Line. Work on the terminal lower level seems well advanced so could be ready soon.

    As for questions re access to Waterloo and City Line then using these lifts and if former link as when Eurostars terminal was open to underground booking is opened then access is not affected by hours of opening of interchange subway .

    1. That’s great! So is the lift working yet? I reckon theyre waiting for the orchestra pit to open since there will be accessible toilets there. I think youre right about access, if you look at the map below, there is a time restriction for the subway from platforms 1-19 but no such sign for the lift to the W&C. Since theyve added new signage, the full opening must be imminent! https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Waterloo-Station-Map.pdf

  5. The lifts at Forest Gate Station on Platforms 1 and 2/3 were in operation today making the TFL Rail services on platforms 1 and 2 step free .

    The lift on platform 4 is still not operational but that platform is not normally used for stopping services.

      1. Depending on work needed at booking hall level Maryland Station lifts look close to completion.

        Work is still ongoing at Seven Kings and Manor Park so they are still a few months (?) away .

        1. Seems like this will drag on quite a bit. I will be releasing the updated map, as well as a new map format, later this week when the Waterloo works are complete.

  6. Depending on work elsewhere at station the lifts at Maryland look close to completion.

    However, at Seven Kings and Manor Park major work is still underway so could be a few more months ?

  7. I was at Waterloo Station today and both tge lifts in upper level have message ” lift to underground ” scrolling but both still have buttons covered over as finishing works continues on orchestra pit area below .

  8. I was at Waterloo Station today and although works to bring the orchestra pit area are continuing I noticed they have taped over the direction signs re lift to Waterloo and City Line suggesting it’s yet imminent

  9. I noticed earlier a comment on Ian Visits site that lifts were now operational at Manor Park Station.

    I just checked TFL Site which has following entry –

    Manor Park Station: There is now step-free access available from the entrance to the TfL Rail platforms at Manor Park.

    1. Oh thats where I saw it first! I then found a picture of the new lift on twitter and blasted TfL for not making an announcement…the map is ready i just need to upload it

      1. A similar entry for Seven Kings Station –

        Seven Kings Station: There is now step-free access available from the entrance to the TfL Rail platforms at Seven Kings.

        1. Ahhhhhhhhh…why is it so hard for them to announce this?? Anything for Gidea Park, Maryland, Goodmayes, and is it Harold Wood or Chadwell Heath?

          1. TFL Status for Maryland Station now makes clear that step free access is available-

            Maryland Station: There is now step-free access available from the entrance to the TfL Rail platforms at Manor Park.

            It didn’t take long for a lift at Manor Park Station eastbound platform to break down as it was earlier today when I was there. Status updates now says it’s fixed .

          2. As more of these stations become accessible, I fear that the TfL Access team will just be reporting lift failures. It is quite embarrassing how often these lifts are breaking down.

        2. I dont even know what the Maryland entry was meant to say. Maybe they forgot to finish the announcement or they did it too early and deleted it

  10. Any updates on West Hampstead London Overground? Thereโ€™s no step-free blob on the tube map yet. Also has South Woodford works started? I heard itโ€™s starting around this timing

    1. West Hampstead has opened the new footbridge, but the lifts will not start until then new ticket hall is built, which will happen later this year (it keeps getting pushed back). The work at South Woodford is quite simple so it is expected to be finished by the end of this month.

  11. While work to fit out the orchestra pit at Waterloo Station is still ongoing I noticed today a workman who was checking measurements of both the new lifts with both a tape measure and angle measurements triangle device. And when he had completed at orchestra pit level he summoned the lift with doors to both lifts opening and then went to upper level to check measurements.

    So it looks like both lifts are operational it’s just a question of when they are satisfied with fit out of Station.

  12. I used Moorgate Station today and can report the lift serving the eastbound Circle Line is now complete with floor level and message ‘not in service ‘ scrolling across. The lift is behind a door in a recess. So it’s a matter of other Station works needed especially booking hall above before it comes into service. Only used that platform and can’t say how opposite westbound platform lift position is.

  13. Fitting out of orchestra pit of former Eurostar area continues with Underground sign installed next to stairs entrance to booking hall .

    Of interest while under the Station clock at Waterloo Station I had a brief encounter with an exhibition of designs for Station access bridges both in response to a competition to design better Bridge access and included a mind mending design from China.

    1. I cant believe how long theyve taken to open the oechestra pit. I heard that it may be due to them wanting to open up the ground floor ex-Eurostar entrance to the station at the same time.

  14. A press release on Mayor website regarding retention of staff at Overground ticket offices includes the following footnote re Brondesbury Station step free access –

    Brondesbury is to be redeveloped without a ticket office to allow a lift to be built as part of the DfT Access for All scheme.

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