Greenford is going to become the first tube station in England with an incline lift when work finishes there in 2015. The incline lift is an innovative new design that runs alongside the escalators making it easier to install than a traditional vertical lift. Incline lifts are already in use in many major European cities as well as in America but the introduction of the design in Britain marks a step forward for disabled access over here.
It’s also a more cost effective means of improving accessibility than a traditional lift. TfL initially estimated a cost of £10m to install a 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.
The new Crossrail, scheduled to be completed in 2018, will also bring in several incline lifts as well as vertical lifts to many stations currently without any. Four incline lifts will run alongside escalators at Farringdon and Liverpool Street Crossrail stations where it is not possible to install vertical lifts. In total 54 new lifts are set to be built.
Martin Rowark, Crossrail’s Procurement Director said: “The new incline lifts offer an added benefit by allowing groups travelling together to have passengers with wheelchairs, buggies or large baggage to take an incline lift while friends and family take an escalator directly alongside.”
This is an interesting and positive development in disabled access on London Transport. However, there is still some way to go. For instance, on the new Crossrail platforms, only 29 of 37 stations will have step-free access. To some people, it might seem like rather ‘glass half empty thinking’ to focus on the fact that this means 8 stations will not be step-free but this is a brand new transport system. Surely they should be able to make it all step-free and accessible to everyone!
So there’s some good news and some bad news. What do you think about it?