The Anonymous Widower

The Steps At Dalston Junction Station

Dalston Junction is a four-platform station and these are the only stairs at the station.

I think the design is excellent.

  • They serve all four platforms, so you can’t go the wrong way!
  • They are very wide, so have a high capacity.
  • There are effectively four handrails for those like me, who want or need to hold on.
  • Fit travellers who can lift their case, can use the stairs.
  • There is a landing half-way up.
  • The stairs are well-lit.
  • in 2017-2018, the stairs handled nearly six million passengers.
  • The small number of interchange passengers don’t need to use the stairs and walk between platforms on the level.
  • The steps are Transport for London’s typical low-slip design.
  • At the bottom of the staircase, there is a wide landing area with two train information displays and a 20-30 metre walks to the four platforms.
  • At the top of the staircase there is a wide lobby, with the wide gate-line in front of passengers coming up the stairs.
  • There is usually, a member of the station staff watching the passenger flows and answering any questions.

But above all there is a single lift about ten-twenty metres from the stairs, so avoiding the stairs is easy and obvious.

I have seen few stairs in stations as well-designed as these.

A few more general observations.

Wide Stairs With A Double Rail In the Middle

This design of stairs is being increasingly seen in London and around Europe.

In Stairs And A Lift At Cannon Street Station, I show a similar installation.

But there are loads like this monstrosity at Bethnal Green station in Before Overground – Stairs Not Fit For Purpose.

How many stations could be improved by widening the staircase?

Probably quite a few, but many staircases are constrained within solid walls.

Handrails

Transport for London generally use round and easy-to-grip handrails.

These are the best I’ve seen, which are on the Amsterdam Metro.

Some on British Rail-era stations are big and square and must be difficult for those with small or frail hands.

An Obvious Lift

At Dalston Junction, the lift is obvious as you approach the stairs.

But in some stations, the lifts are at the other end of the platform.

The Greenford Solution

These pictures show the solution at Greenford station.

Note.

  1. There is an up-escalator.
  2. A staircase,which is as wide as possible.
  3. There are three handrails with a low rail for those who prefer it.
  4. There is an inclined lift, which saves space.

I think we’ll see more step-free installations of this style.

Safety

I won’t comment on safety, as I don’t want to bring bad luck to the installations.

Conclusion

All those designing staircases and lift systems for stations, should be made to visit Dalston Junction and Greenford stations in the Peak.

April 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Many Stations Could Use This Step-Free Layout?

Greenford station has London Underground’s only inclined lift.

The inclined lift is installed with an escalator on the other side and double-width stairs with a central rail in between.

Searching the Internet, there doesn’t seem to have been any problems, since it was switched on in 2015.

The number of passengers using the station’s two Central Line and one National Rail platforms is around five million per year, which would appear fairly typical for many outer London tube stations.

So how many stations could use a layout like this?

These issues will need to be considered.

Height

Greenford station is not a great height difference and you wouldn’t want to have too much of a difference, as the stairs will get a heavy use.

Platform Layout

Greenford station has an island platform, which means that one set of inclinced/lift/escalator can serve all platforms.

Installation Width

The picture shows that the combined installation is quite wide, so this type of step-free access could be difficult to install.

Application To A Two-Escalator/Stairs System

There are lots of stations in the outer reaches of the Underground, which need step-free-access, where there are two escalators and a set of stairs.

Some might think, that an inclined lift could be put in the space and it would certainly the engineering wouldn’t be difficult.

But the problem would be long-term maintenance, where escalators are given a full strip-down every ten years or so and closed for several months.

The station would be left with just one working escalator and the inclined lift.

I would therefore feel that installing an inclined lift instead of the stairs is not a feasible proposition, unless the station has two entrances.

Application To A Three-Escalator System

Most deep-level stations on the London Underground have banks of three escalators, so that if one breaks down or is being maintained, there is a full service.

Application To A Station Footbridge

There are lots of stations, that need step-free footbridges.

I can envisage a prefabricated system, where an inclined lift is one of the components.

The lift and its frame would be assembled in a factory and just lifted into place on prepared foundations. Stairs and if needed, an escalator could also be handled in the same way, before the bridge deck was lifted on top.

Too many step-free footbridges, seem to require a lot of bespoke construction on site.

The system could also be used where the entrance to a station was a single set of stairs to an island platform from an existing overbridge.

Bowes Park, Rose Grove and Mill Hill come to mind. This picture shows Mill Hill station in Lancashire.

There must be others, where the existing stairs could be replaced with a wide staircase and an inclined lift.

Conclusion

I think it is likely, that given the success of the Greenford installation, we will see  other inclined lifts on the UK’s railway network.

But places where they are used will have to be chosen with care and well-designed!

 

 

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Stations On The West Ruislip Branch Of The Central Line To Be Made Step-Free

Hanger Lane and Northolt stations are going to be made step-free.

I took these pictures on the 25th January 2018

Hanger Lane

Northolt

Summary

No work has started!

These two stations are similar in design, as are most stations from between Perivale and Ruislip Gardens.

  • Each has a single island platform.
  • Steep stairs come down in the middle of the platform.
  • A single lift would make the stations step-free from ticket hall to platforms.
  • Hanger Lane would need an extra lift from street to ticket hall.

Only Greenford, which has a junction with the Greenford Branch and is elevated, is built to different design.

Greenford Station’s Inclined Lift

At Greenford, an inclined lift has been used, as I wrote in The Inclined Lift In An Improved Greenford Station.

This picture was taken at Greenford station.

Could this be fitted alongside a rebuilt staircase on these Central Line stations?

  • The lift and stairs would be sized to fit across the platform.
  • A bigger hole in the ticket hall would be needed.
  • Access under the stairs would not be needed for passengers.
  • An inclined lift installation might be more popular with the Heritage Lobby.

It could even be possible to keep the station open during the rebuilding work.

This article on Transport For All is entitled London’s First Incline Lift. This is a paragraph.

Research by Ealing Council shows that installing incline lifts are a cost effective solution for making inaccessible stations step-free. TfL initially estimated a cost of £10m to install a traditional vertical lift at Greenford station. The incline lift makes a huge saving as it only costs £2.2m with a proposed £200,000 contribution from Ealing Council.

That is a 78% cost saving.

I can’t find any complaints on the Internet about the installation at Greenford.

What Are Transport for London’s Plans?

Transport for London have stated that their aim is to eventually have all Underground stations with full step-free access.

I have this feeling that Hanger Lane and Northolt were added to the list for these reasons.

  • The success of the inclined lift at Greenford station.
  • Studies have shown that inclined lifts could be used at these stations.
  • The affordability of inclined lifts.
  • Local residents have used Greenford’s lift and want one!
  • Ruislip Gardens, South Ruislip and Perivale stations could be made step-free in the same way.

Transport for London could be going for a traditional solution! But I doubt it!

 

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stations For Inclined Lifts

After the superb installation at Greenford, I wonder if stations like these will get inclined lifts in their third space.

It would probably be dependent on the layout of the stations, but we’ll certainly see more.

Highbury and Islington station might be able to have a central inclined lift, but then to get to the platforms, there are further difficult stairs. If ever a station was built that would be difficult to provide step-free access, it is this one.

October 28, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Could We See Some Packaged Inclined Lift Applications?

I liked the inclined lift at Greenford, that I saw yesterday.

There are many stations in the UK and across the wider world, where access to the trains is down a long staircase from a road or bridge that crosses the platforms at a right angle.

Disabled-Friendly Steps At Mill Hill

So could a simple inclined lift be fitted alongside these stairs, at Mill Hill station in Blackburn?

I think that you could build a lift in its own glass module in a factory, make an appropriate hole in the bridge parapet and lift the inclined lift into position on the platform.

There could be several advantages.

  1. The preparation work at the station would not be major construction.
  2. It would surely be more affordable for stations with low usage for passengers, who need full step-free access. Mill Hill might be an example., as the station isn’t used by more than 70,000 passengers in total in a year.
  3. If say the station were to be rebuilt, the lift could be saved and used elsewhere.
  4. The installation of the lift could be a very fast process, perhaps done over a weekend.
  5. The package could include a staircase, which could be covered if desired.

I think that when architects see the stairs/escalator/inclined lift combination at Greenford station, they’ll get some very imaginative ideas.

 

October 23, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment