Bank tube station is in the middle of a major upgrade project, and TfL has commissioned a study into whether the upgrade could be… upgraded.
One key upgrade was not included in the original plans as it was felt too difficult and expensive to add in at this time, but TfL has been asked to review the original decision.
The missing piece is step-free access to the Central line.
According to the papers for TfL’s latest board meeting, several of the members “were disappointed that the entire station would not have step-free access.”
TfL acknowledged that redesigning the project now would be difficult but it has commissioned a report on this topic which would be shared with the Programmes and Investment Committee.
Although squeezing lifts into the tight space is difficult, similar works at Tottenham Court Road showed that it could be achieved. However, the main constraint is that the Central line platforms are on a sharp curve resulting in large gaps between the trains and platforms at the main double-doors on the trains.
The gap at the ends of each carriage is much smaller, but step-free is usually aimed to be offered at a minimum by the double doors for access by wheelchairs and similar aids.
It may be possible to add a raised area at the very ends of the platforms where there are short lengths of straight platform to provide some limited degree of step-free access.
The new study is due to be completed in the next few months.
Bank is the third busiest station on the Underground network, serving more than 120 million customers each year. A huge upgrade project that is due for completion in 2022 will see the Northern line platforms substantially enlarged, a new travolator added between Northern and Central lines and a new entrance added on Cannon Street.