On Tuesday 11 March passengers will be able to see and use the sparkling new escalator and the old wooden escalator dating back to 1947.
London Underground is on schedule to make Greenford Tube station step-free in 2015. A new wider staircase will be constructed, which will be laid with tactile paving for the visually impaired. The old escalator will be taken out, to be replaced by a new incline lift – the first of its kind on London Underground. TfL has worked closely with Ealing Council in the development of the incline lift plans.
In order that the station can remain open throughout the duration of the works an ‘up’ escalator service and a staircase must be available at all times, which is why a new escalator was installed first. New CCTV will be installed in the lift and all the public address systems on the station will also be upgraded.
David Waboso, London Underground’s Director of Capital Programmes said: “As part of our commitment to make the Tube more accessible, work is on schedule to make Greenford Tube station step-free by next year. In order to keep the station open during the works we have to have an ‘up’ escalator and stairs, which is why we installed a new escalator first, then we will widen the centre staircase and finally we can remove the escalator on the right and install the new incline lift.
“The innovative glass incline lift will go up and down right by the newly widened staircase and the other new escalator, with users able to see out as well as being seen. The lift has a higher capacity because it has entry and exit doors at opposite sides of the lift cabin. This makes it easier for wheelchair users and passengers with buggies because they do not have to turn round when they leave, as they would in a conventional lift with one set of access doors.”
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing’s cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “It is fantastic that the first step towards making Greenford Station step-free is now complete, with the first new escalator at the station in more than 65 years open and ready for commuters to use. It will give people quicker and more reliable access to the platform ahead of a number of other station improvements that are to come.
“The next stage of the Greenford Station transformation - the installation of the new incline lift – once complete will finally end decades of frustration for passengers in wheelchairs and those with buggies by giving them step-free access to Tube and rail travel. I’m proud that Ealing Council has championed accessible transport and worked with TfL to find a cost-effective way to build this lift. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come together during the coming months.”
The currently closed men’s toilet on the platform will be replaced with a unisex accessible toilet, which will require the use of The Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR) key to enter. In addition more lighting and more signage will be installed at the station as well as repairing damaged caused by water and pigeons. The whole project will be completed in 2016.
Some night-time working will be required to ensure delivery of large equipment and removals are carried out safely, but any noise will be kept to the absolute minimum.
There is an extensive programme of refurbishing and replacing escalators being carried out across the network to make them more reliable. This is complex work involving large and heavy equipment which takes several months to carry out because London Underground escalators are handmade and are bespoke to the individual stations.