No Underground line has seen as many recent changes regarding step-free access as the Victoria line. Only a few years ago when I was first planning on moving to the UK, Vauxhall was about to become step-free. Since then, Victoria station became accessible, and now we celebrate Finsbury Park. With this, the Victoria line has 7 out of 16 stations step-free. With upcoming works at Walthamstow Central and rumours about bringing back a disused entrance at Highbury & Islington, it won’t be long until a majority of the Victoria line is fully accessible.
Starting the new year off right, Finsbury Park is now fully step-free for the Victoria and Piccadilly lines. With both sets of platforms having platform humps, this adds a major interchange station to the list of level boarding Underground stations. You can access the updated map here.
In addition to this, one of the new lifts actually goes all the way up to National Rail platforms 5 and 6. Unfortunately, these platforms are seldom used except for limited peak-time services, meaning that the majority of northbound Thameslink and Great Northern services will remain inaccessible for the time being.
Still, there may be positive news in the horizon, as Thameslink is suggesting that step-free access works at platform 7 (and 8) are due to start in 2020. Whether there is current funding for this is unknown, but it is good to see that they are actively lobbying for it.
Central Line at Bank
In other news, there are new reports that TfL is considering adding step-free access to the Central line platforms at Bank. Nothing is certain at this point, and a report will be submitted within a few months looking at the feasibility of redesigning the whole Bank upgrade project. This would be a huge achievement for the Central Line and the City of London, resulting in a major station with 4 step-free lines (Northern, DLR, W&C, Central).
Crossrail Woes Part 90283
Finally, Crossrail is on-hand to remind us that it couldn’t care any less about making its stations accessible for all. A new notice at Maryland now moves the step-free access completion date to spring 2019. Seeing as TfL took over the Shenfield branch in 2015 in anticipation of the launch of the Elizabeth Line, it is beyond shameful that the project has been completely unable to open a SINGLE lift on any existing National Rail station. With these delays, what hope is there that any of the new Elizabeth Line lifts will be reliable or even operational when the line finally opens?