Mapping the Development of

Step-free Access Across

London’s Rail Network

Step-Free London

Mapping the Development of

Step-free Access Across

London’s Rail Network

Leyton: First Good News of the Year

So far, most recent news regarding step-free access has been dominated by de-scoping, deferments, delays, and quiet cancellations. In the context of this grim situation, brought upon primarily by TfL’s dire financial situation, it was surprising to hear that an additional Underground station would soon be made step-free AND appears to have stable funding. This station is Leyton on the Central line.


The Leyton announcement is not completely out of the blue. As I reported back in May 2018, Leyton was a serious candidate for redevelopment, along with Walthamstow Central. While the latter ended up being awarded funding from TfL’s Growth Fund, Leyton is now set to get up to £18m for step-free access redevelopment, with half the money coming from Waltham Forest Council and half from TfL. There is currently no timeline specified for this work, but a report from Waltham Forest Council suggests that the TfL funding is coming partially from the Mayor’s Step Free Station fund:

“The Mayor of London has a £145m programme to introduce SFA at Underground stations in London to 2023/24. TfL has identified the potential for a total of £9m to be secured for works at Leyton Station, including from this fund. “

Because of this, it is likely that Leyton will be step-free by 2024. However, until more concrete information arises, I will refrain from adding it to the Future Station list.

As you can see from the map below, the area surrounding Stratford will have a significant cluster of step-free stations (even if manual boarding ramps are needed at most of them).

Stations around Stratford

Level Boarding on Crossrail

On the topic of manual boarding ramps, and especially seeing future Elizabeth Line station Maryland on the previous map, I would like to bring up a recent petition. Liam Islam has started a petition to bring awareness to the fact that most of the Elizabeth Line (28 out of 41 stations) will require manual boarding ramps for boarding, despite Crossrail costing billions of pounds.

I’ve spoken about this subject at length before, and although I disagree with the proposal of raising platforms (due to freight and other rolling stock), I believe it is an important petition if only to show TfL and the DfT that they must address this and have a clear strategy to achieve full level boarding throughout the entire line. To be sure, none of the alternatives will be cheap, such as lowering the newly-built core platforms, acquiring new trains, or massively restricting freight traffic on both the Great Eastern and Great Western Main Lines.

Nevertheless, step-free access to platform only should not be tolerated for a project of this scale, and the DfT and TfL need to realise that cutting corners now will cost them in the long run. And so, I encourage everyone to sign this petition.

Finally, with any luck we will hear positive news from Waterloo in the coming days regarding full step-free access for the Waterloo & City line. Stay tuned!


  1. I’m not sure if u noticed but the new Avoiding Stairs Tube Guide doesnt include Buckhurst Hill and Bromley-by-Bow, which is really a disappointment after they added Newbury Park and Finsbury Park

    1. The avoiding stairs guide is even more neglected than the step-free one, so unfortunately I am not surprised that it hasnt been updated in almost a year.

      1. It’s half updated. The Newbury Park and Finsbury Park blobs were updated but the Bromley-by-Bow and Buckhurst Hill ones are not included. Sad…in recent years the updates have been rly bad and lots of typos…so dismayed cuz back in like 2010s it was pretty good for every update. Even the website isn’t a good source now…but I’m curious meanwhile to know how come during Boris era there were very few step-free stations introduced? West Brompton is a sad case also

        1. A lot of step-free plans were actually cut during the Boris era. Two prominent examples are the rest of Waterloo (which is now becoming accessible one line at a time) and Baker Street. Annoyingly, these schemes have not been brought back.

          1. Yeah that’s sad…Waterloo would have been fully step-free! And at least they could have did some lift extension down to the northbound Bakerloo line platform. I’m not sure if is because Boris decided to focus on London Overground cuz during his time the number of London Overground stations going step-free were huge! But nonetheless he shouldn’t have ignored LU upgrades. It’s nice to see stations like Leyton are being considered but urgh stations on the southern part of the Northern line are pathetic. Piccadilly line between Oakwood and Finsbury Park also another big gap…I suppose Arnos Grove has a chance actually. The Bakerloo line needs some step-free boost drinks as well, not forgetting about the District line. I’m really curious to know whether Notting Hill Gate Central line will get step-free access too. And come on Euston square needs another lift too! I’m curious to know why they never mentioned about manually digging some additional tunnels or extending lift shafts of those not reaching the level of platforms. If you can, could you help me suggest that Tufnell Park can gets some ramps for step-free access? Cuz there are only 11 steps from the lift landing to both platforms. Since South Woodford can benefit from this, why not Tufnell Park? Can be a good alternative for Archway station too since Archway is already very narrow. And for god’s sake Clapham Common and Clapham North badly need an overhaul. (It would be interesting to see whether they transform into stations looking like Cité on the Paris metro LOL) i can talk about this all day but i shall end here

          2. Hi sorry for the late response! The current strategy is almost exclusively focussing on above-ground sections of the tube, so the Central line and western Piccadilly line branches are boosted, while the Northern line and eastern Piccadilly branch are bypassed. The Bakerloo will get a surprise win once Crossrail opens at Paddington, although it will be limited until Elephant & Castle is rebuilt. The District line, in my opinion, will have a pretty even spread of step-free access once Whitechapel becomes accessible, but it is good to see schemes such as Wimbledon Park. A fully step-free Notting Hill Gate would definitely benefit the Central line and finally give it connectivity to surrounding lines. I suppose that Tufnell Park is not being currently considered due to its below-ground alignment. Instead, there are schemes along the above-ground portion of the Edgware branch at Burnt Oak, Colindale, and Brent Cross (if the redevelopment goes ahead). I would imagine TfL will start going after these neglected areas (Balham, Archway, one of the Claphams) once the above-ground sections reach a certain accessibility level. And the Claphams will probably need a whole new bored tunnel just like London Bridge, Euston, and Angel did. This would have to take place after the Bank upgrade.

          3. I dont know why the reply blob didn’t appear for the final reply but London Bridge Northern line got a rebuild of tunnels? Did you mean Bank lol? Ya I guess Tufnell Park is underground but yea hopefully they will consider it cuz it’s only 11 steps which i recently found out. It’s nice to know also that Bank Central line will get an upgrade though I do prefer they rebuild the tunnels at Bank haha but is going to be really expensive. The previous housing scheme only mentioned that Notting Hill Gate will get lifts to the Circle and District lines but not the Central line. The recent one seems to imply both lines hmm An even older post shows only one of the Circle and District line platform will get it. So im quite lost which one is it. TfL should really work close with the development companies there since who knows a sudden opportunity might appear like maybe a St. Paul’s link from City Thameslink station and it really can solve the difficulty of installing lifts at a stacked platform station.

  2. I’m not sure if you noticed but you accidentally wrote Clock Tower station instead of Clock House lol. Also, it’s really sad to hear that they had no plans for step-free access for Bruce Grove despite the renovation 🙁 hope they really reconsider or else is gonna be even more difficult to add later. Another thing is I’m not sure if you know but they’re adding step-free access to the westbound platform at St Margarets (the station near Richmond). I’m also very curious how come they added step-free access to so many London Overground stations before this but now it slowed down a lot. I know is budget constraints but kind of weird since it doesnt involve much work at some stations like Honor Oak Park. Also I’m curious how come when they rebuilt Dalston Kingsland Shadwell Wapping and Rotherhithe Overground stations they didn’t consider step-free access. But good news is recently I heard they’re doing a study on whether to make Wapping step-free or not and how to.

    1. I swear I fixed that at some point haha! It keeps coming back! I will change it for the next update when South Woodford opens, which should be in 1-2 weeks, or if the Waterloo upgrade opens first. I feel the same about Lancaster Gate, they redeveloped it but left it with steps at the end. And yes, I mention St Margarets in my latest post, although only the westbound platform will be accessible. It is quite frustrating that there are so many gaps on the East London Line. I suspect Rotherhithe to Shadwell is due to the space constraints from the narrow tunnel, but it is great to see Wapping getting a mention. Dalston Kingsland will eventually be accessible thanks to Crossrail 2, and Surrey Quays will be getting a second entrance, which will hopefully be accessible.

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