The Anonymous Widower

Step-Free Access To The Underground

Coming back from Kings Cross station tonight, I took the indirect route using the Circle line to Moorgate station and then getting a 141 bus from just outside the station to just round the corner from my house.

The reason was that I had a heavy parcel of bedding, I’d bought in John Lewis and my normal change to the bus home at either Angel or Highbury and Islington stations would have meant crossing a major road.

Although I’m not in any way disabled, sometimes I do find that my left hand is a bit gammy and it is better to take an easier route, with escalators, lifts or right-handed staircases.  For this reason, I know a lot of the best routes to get around London.

As I went through the gate at Kings Cross, the staff were chatting about step-free access and how difficult it will be to put in at some stations. I said that I think we’ll be finding some innovative engineering solutions used in some stations.

I know that inclined lifts are going to be used on Crossrail, but when I got home I found that at Greenford station, London Underground is going to get its first inclined lift. There’s more here on the Crossrail web site.

I think we’ll see a lot more of these, especially at stations, where there are three escalator positions, but the middle one has never been installed to save money.

The great advantage of inclined lifts is that in these stations, they can be installed without any digging or disruption to the station during the installation process.

I also think that buses have a large part to play in step free access.

As I said, I often plot my routes around London to avoid difficult stations or interchanges.  For instance, I don’t change at Green Park station, as although it has lifts and is step free, you can walk miles between trains. Kings Cross too, is a bit of an Underground maze. Often though, the best route is to go to an easier station and then get a bus.

But not all stations have easy access from the trains to the buses and vice-versa like London Bridge, Euston and Victoria.

It may improve the lot of passengers and especially those who are disabled to improve the bus/Tube interface, as it will mean that some difficult stations can be bypassed.

I want lots more step free access to stations, but lets see if we can have innovative and more affordable solutions, that allow more stations to be given the full treatment.

January 16, 2013 - Posted by | News, Transport | , , , , , ,


  1. […] The middle one was just an emergency staircase, but this could be converted into an inclined lift, as is proposed at Greenford. […]

    Pingback by A Design Challenge « The Anonymous Widower | January 19, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] Well, not really! But this afternoon, I did go back to the northern reaches of the Piccadilly line. The aim was to look at the escalator layout of the stations to see how difficult they would be to upgrade to step-free access, possibly using inclined lifts, as I outlined here. […]

    Pingback by Going Back To My Childhood « The Anonymous Widower | January 21, 2013 | Reply

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