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

Start of Control Period 6

In addition to April Fool’s Day and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s birthday (coincidence?), today also marks the start of Network Rail’s latest 5-year funding period, Control Period 6 (CP6). Investment during these periods typically include various types of projects, such as new stations, electrification schemes, step-free access works, and maintenance/renewal works.

Access for All

Obviously, one of the most interesting aspects of the new funding period, access-wise, is the Access for All stations that will become accessible in the next 5 years. £300m have been set aside for this scheme, of which approximately £50m will be for the stations that were deferred from Control Period 5. In London, there are 9 such stations, including Peckham Rye, Barnes, Streatham, and Seven Sisters, among others. The remaining stations for the scheme have not been announced yet, but London is likely to get a significant boost in accessibility.

Of course, we should also be aware of the CP5 stations that have NOT been deferred but that are not completed. Listed in the Future Station List on the bottom of the Map page, there are 13 stations at various stages of progress. Stations like Tottenham Hale and West Hampstead are nearing completion, while Alexandra Palace and Palmers Green haven’t been mentioned in years. Given this variation, it is always good to see unexpected progress, such as brand new lift shafts at Ewell West.

Surprisingly advanced works at Ewell West

It is important to remember that these stations are technically ALREADY funded and we must not allow the government to dilute the upcoming funding by pretending otherwise.

Jon’s Journey!

In other news, my husband Jon has put together an amazing “first-person” video of our journey from our home in Reading to ExCeL London. It is very informative and allows viewers to see the small accessibility barriers that he has to endure on a daily basis, as well as the important role of assistance and level boarding.

Given the four separate rail journeys we took to reach our destination, it was certainly not lost on me the fact that had the Elizabeth Line opened on time, we would’ve had a DIRECT service from Reading to Custom House and saved a huge amount of time. Nevertheless, we are eagerly looking forward to the line’s eventual opening, and we are sure it will transform our travel experience and bring Reading a bit closer to its gigantic neighbour.

Level Access Reading?

Speaking of Reading, we have gotten in touch with our MP, Alok Sharma, about the prospect of installing temporary platform humps at Reading station for the Elizabeth Line. He has forwarded our message to Network Rail and GWR, and will inform us of their response. This is just the beginning of what may be a long and stressful process, but I am keen to see what kind of support we see from the rail industry and our MP. I will keep you all posted!

TfL’s Takeover

Finally, TfL has released a brand new report on the “metroisation” of the London suburban services currently run by South Western, Southern, Thameslink, and Southeastern. The goal of their proposal is to take over these routes and increase capacity to give them metro-like frequencies. Here is a comparison of the current service pattern versus the proposed changes:

Current peak-time service patterns
Proposed peak-time service patterns

One of the main way TfL proposes to increase capacity is by simplifying and streamlining services to create high-frequency corridors. While this does mean that some journeys, particularly on Southeastern services, would require additional interchanges, the end result would hopefully be a reliable suburban network that would be comparable to existing Overground services and even parts of the Underground.

Although I am not totally in favour of rail nationalisation (I believe increased funding from the government and tighter control over the franchise process could bring many of the proposed benefits), I am very supportive of rail devolution. Getting all local services in London under TfL would allow for increased cooperation, fairer pricing schemes, and most importantly, full-time staffing. These suburban corridors, as seen on the SFL Map, have abysmal staffing at most of their stations. TfL’s commitment to staffing would greatly boost overall accessibility at dozens of stations overnight. I encourage anyone interested in this to read the report.


  1. Just to let you know I’ve noticed you’ve made a mistake in the step-free map you have. Thames Ditton is actually step-free from the same road (though different ramps).

    1. Also, for your future stations map, the positions of Meridian Water and Northumberland Park should be swapped. Meanwhile to comment on this post itself:

      I really do support the rail devolution scheme, though I feel like they could extend some tube lines too. My favourite would be to redo Earl’s Court station. This is so that the Edgware Road to Wimbledon line could be run as a separate service. And then, the line could be extended from Wimbledon to Shepperton or Hampton Court via Surbiton. From Edgware Road, the line could be extended to Enfield Town. The Northern line could be extended to Chessington South via Morden South, Morden Park (new station) and Motspur Park. There can also be another branch from Morden South to North Cheam to Cheam and to Epsom Downs. These will take over the small existing lines. Passengers will now have to change at Cheam instead of Sutton, not too inconvenient though.

      Meanwhile, the Victoria line could be extended to Orpington or at least Bromley South. The extension from Brixton to Orpington will call at Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace, Birckbeck, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley, Petts Wood and Orpington. For a complementary interchange, the Bakerloo should be extended to Hayes, and then to Orpington (via Farnborough Common). Another connection could be made to Bromley Common is to extend the Grove Park short line. The Bromley North terminus could be extended to Farnborough Common, calling at Bromley South, Bromley Common and Farnborough Common, while the Grove Park terminus could be extended to Hither Green, Blackheath and Charlton, taking over the Blackheath to Charlton service.

      I also envisioned a Headstone Lane to Slade Green line, via the abandoned Northern Heights and the Northern City line. Mill Hill East will now be part of this new line. The new line will serve stations such as Canons Park and Harrow Weald (new station). This line will also takeover this Bexleyheath route, which is of the highest demand besides the future Crossrail route from Abbey Wood to Gravesend via Belvedere and Dartford.

      I do, however, support a new London Overground line starting from London Bridge, which would take over the stopping services on the Selhurst route (national rail can now skip the local stations) such as Norbury. It can go on to serve the Tattenham Corner route. If possible, another route should be opened from South Croydon to Selsdon, New Addington and Biggin Hill, to serve more areas.

      There are other extensions which I think is suitable for rail devolution, such as the Victoria line extension via South Woodford, Hainault and Romford to Upminster, therefore making the Romford to Upminster line slightly more useful. I suppose the Victoria line could be further improved from these extensions. 36tph can become 40 tph anyway. There’ll be a few new stations along Hainault, Woodford and Romford as well as Wood Street, or just let London Overground serve Wood Street instead. Up to them, and since the Victoria line is a whoosh line anyway.

      Another thing they could do to improve coverage across some neglected London areas is to build new, but small lines connecting to existing termini. Like, how about an Ealing Broadway to Uxbridge/Cowley line via Hillingdon Heath. There may be a huge bottleneck at Ealing Broadway, but at least frequencies wont be affected. Or even better, the Ealing branch would be absorbed into this new line so that the Central line western branches could be shrunk into just a straight section. Of course, North Acton will need underground platforms, or aboveground platforms. Also, a Stratford to Hertford East line would really improve the services if National Rail permits. Initially, I had in mind the Jubilee line to be extended from Stratford but there might be space constraints.

      I once had this insane idea of extending the Hammersmith & City line beyond Hammersmith to serve neglected areas of Barnes and Richmond to Kingston. But this is for another line I guess. PS: The Waterloo & City line should have a new station at Blackfriars, as well as maybe a Chingford extension, which means London Overground Lea Valley lines can just focus on 2 lines. Then from Waterloo, I’m not sure but maybe they can do a Windsor line, taking over the Hounslow line entirely. Or I suppose a Strawberry Hill curve would be good, therefore complementing the Wimbledon line extension.

      Also, it might be feasible to extend from Edgware to Bushey (not Bushey Heath) as well as together with the Jubilee line Stanmore extension. Also, they should really think of an east-to-west or north-to-south line to serve areas like Camberwell, Walworth, and the southern parts of the District line parallel to Earl’s Court to Victoria section.

  2. During PMQs today a question re step free access for a Station received a reply from PM that announcement re Access for All funding will be made tomorrow- see below

    Nigel Adams, who resigned as a minister earlier over Brexit (see 9.46am), urges May to back a campaign for step-free access for Selby railway station. This is important for his constituents, he says. The people of Selby demand action, he says.

    May thanks Adams for his work as a minister and says she is sorry he has resigned.

    She says Adams’ “considerable weight” has been behind this campaign for a long time. His weight “as a campaigner”, she clarifies. She says there will be an announcement about new funding for stations tomorrow.

    1. Yes i saw this, ive heard from a source that there will be 73 stations in the new funding period (including deferred ones)

    2. This is great news! Though I really hope they don’t defer any station schemes any longer as there is still a backlog for a vast number of stations like Palmers Green and Alexandra Palace.

    1. Brondesbury should still be considered part of CP5, so it should be funded and still planned. However it wouldve been good to get concrete timescales for the remaining porjects

      1. I find it really really peculiar that some stations are already step-free (just with different entrances) but the government accepted it anyway. Is this just a waste of time? I’m very intrigued to find out. I went to Google Maps to check Leatherhead station. It’s accepted as one out of the 73, but the station is already step-free…

        1. Sometimes these stations are very busy and benefit from an avcesisble footbridge, but it is a bit frustrating that they are prioritised over those that have no access at all

          1. I’ve just found out that Hadley Wood is now step-free northbound only but with a moderately inclined ramped road + a new ramp funded by a local rail user group. It’s seen on National Rail Enquiries station layout

          2. The problem with Hadley Wood is that you cant reach it from finsbury park, since theres no northbound access, and you need to leave the oyster zone to travel southbound from Potters Bar. Because of this, I will not add Hadley Wood until the oyster zone expands to welwyn later this year

          3. Regarding Hadley Wood, I heard that Potters Bar is coming into the oyster zone soon based on the new Network rail map

  3. Please find below link to Network Rail site with details of work to make Selhurst Station accessible with work beginning on Monday 8th April 2019 for completion in November 2019 .

    I did read somewhere that plans for deferred Stations was to try and restart work ASAP after new control period begins in April 2019 where work plans had reached an advanced stage when programs were deferred.

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