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.


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  1. IanBrown says:

    Just out of interest I noticed that on the New York Subway they have tackled tne mid car gap issue on a tight curve by installing rather clanky extensions which come out against the side of the train when stationary from under the platform edge. This is a temporary extension of the platform as apart from the more commonly seen gap fillers. Quite a suprise when you are standing on one!

  2. Sean says:

    Surely having staff on hand with manual boarding ramps is the easy short term solution for the large gaps?

    • ChrisC says:

      given the time it takes to put a ramp in place, for the person who needs the ramp to get on or off and then remove the ramp you would be significantly restricting the number of trains that could operate on the line.

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    What about other stations on the Underground that could become step free accessible. Such as at Liverpool Street that step-free could be ideal for disabled commuters trying to get onto the Central Line and Circle/Hammersmith & City/Metropolitan Lines. Will Liverpool Street Underground station become step-free accessible.

    Whilst Transport for London are upgrading stations across London to become step-free accessible. Just like at Finsbury Park which is now step-free.

  4. Yragael Drouet says:

    If anyone is interested in the issues disabled and older people support every day using the underground feel free to look at . It’s a great little charity. I may be biased being their information and advise worker.

  5. Chris M says:

    It isn’t just wheelchair users who need step-free access and there are many people who can manage a single step to the train but cannot manage a flight of stairs to the platform who would benefit from a lift even if you can’t solve the problem of getting onto the train step-free.

  6. Dennis says:

    And what is wrong with an elastic band with strong station staff pulling it back? It’s cheaper than lifts

    • David Winter says:

      seem to recall they tried that solution for the traction motors. Funny thing, they fell off the bogies. Oh dear!!!😮😮😮

  7. James Miller says:

    I’m not disabled, but I’m 71, had a bad stroke nine years ago and have a bit of arthritis.

    Some trains in some platforms are difficult with large gaps, but generally what makes a big difference, is good handholds either side of the door. On some trains, they are not very good. Let’s hope that the next generation of trains have better designed handholds and lobbies.

  8. David Winter says:

    It seems to me the optimum solution is to relocate the platform in straight tunnel to the north (eastbound trains) and west of the current historic location. I would also advocate double-sided platforms, with an exit side and a boarding side, at busy locations like Bank.

  9. David Winter says:

    I seem to recall they tried that solution for the traction motors. Funny thing, they fell off the bogies. Oh dear!!!😮😮😮

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