North Acton tube station in west London could get step-free access, if funding can be found to implement a station upgrade plan.

Early concept image (c) 5th Studio

North Acton station is on the Central line and has three platforms linked to the ticket office by a footbridge and stairs. There’s no step-free access to the platforms or trains, and there are problems with congestion in the station. The station is also itself below street level, with a long slope from its original entrance on a nearby road, and a narrow passage that ran around the back of a petrol garage.

Between 2015-19, the Esso petrol garage was demolished, and the site was converted into a public square, with steps and a ramp down to the station. That improved access to the station and its visibility from the street but didn’t do much for the station itself or access to the trains.

North Acton Square (c) ianVisits

Studies into how to improve the station were carried out in 2018 and 2021 and updated last June. In the latest report, several options were looked at – and two groups of proposals have been put forward for consideration:

One – A minimal upgrade for the station building and minor modifications to the new North Acton Square, with refurbishing the old ramp that links Victoria North Road to the east.

Two – Improvements to the new square by covering it in a new street-level pavement, and building a new station entrance level with Victoria Road and re-grading of the East-West ramp, reducing the gradient to a compliant level for People of Reduced Mobility (PRM) accessibility.

The report says Option Two should be taken forward, subject to funding.

Sloped east-west access (c) ianVisits

If carried out in full, then the sloping North Acton Square would be built over to create a level route to a new ticket office at street level. The station would then have stairs and lifts to the platforms via an intermediate footbridge level.

There would also be a doubling of capacity on the stairs to the central platforms as that would have two sets of stairs between the footbridge and the platform, rather than just one as is the current situation. The new entrance would also be significantly larger, with space for more ticket barriers to reduce crowding at the entrance.

A lower-level space is also proposed to fill the space underneath the newly covered square, which they suggest could be suitable for a range of uses, including a cycle hub.

The report, by Mott MacDonald, warns of some complexities in the station itself, as Platform 1 would need to be widened, and there is a complicated cabling layout around the station, which would be best not to touch if possible.

The report suggests that a phased approach could deliver the station building in the first phase and wider public realm improvements in the second phase, including raising North Acton Square. Fortunately, the former level access footpath still exists, which could be brought back into use while North Acton Square is redeveloped.

The report has involved most of the local stakeholders, and while the details of the public realm are outside its remit, it has gone into a lot of detail about the station side of the upgrade.

All that remains is to find the money for the upgrade.

And yes, they did look at moving the station to the east of the Victoria Road bridge so that an interchange could be provided with a potential London Overground station, but that was ruled out because the huge costs didn’t deliver value for money considering the modest uplift in passenger numbers that could be expected.

The study was carried out by Mott MacDonald, commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). The consultant team included Landolt + Brown, 5th Studio and Morgan Sindall. London Borough of Ealing (LBE) also supported the study.

Current station entrance (c) ianVisits


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  1. Andy T says:

    Is there a reason the disconnected national rail track couldn’t be lifted and turned in to a walkway and interchange at some point in the future if the demand is there?

  2. Locality says:

    The DfT and HS2 have an aspiration to reopen the Chiltern Line for High Wycombe to Old Oak Common HS2 station services. At the HS2 station there would be two terminal platforms, plus a single track connection to the up GWML relief line.

    That would presumably mean reinstated heavy rail platforms at Greenford and at North Acton.

    The OPDC is currently trying to get rid of a promised cycle/footbridge over the North Acton cutting at the station, across to the redeveloped HS2 ‘Crossover Box’ site on the north side, and on to the HS2 station to the east, and Park Royal to the west.

    The local plan calls the current station square “Station Square South” and another one “Station Square North” on the Crossover Box site.

    The cost of rafting over Station Square South would be enormous.

    The square only opened at great expense in 2020, paid for by Ealing Council.

    Best to keep it, provide a new tube station at the same level as the current one, and build the promised footbridge to the northern side.

    • Basil Jet says:

      I think its highly unlikely that the Chiltern line would have any platforms between South Ruislip and OOC – they will be trying to get people to the Elizabeth Line as quickly as possible with as little construction expense as possible, and the Central Line at West Ruislip and South Ruislip offers interchange to all of those intermediate places.

  3. c says:

    I agree re Chiltern – the Central line is nippy along here and it wouldn’t add much. I’d only think a combined Park Royal station, if that had ever come to pass – but otherwise everywhere is relatively sleepy along there.

    North Acton should, however, be invested in as the HS2 / OOC Central line connection – even if a bit of a walk, and marketed as such to help distribution from trains at OOC.

    So I would think this ‘option 2’ would be the bare minimum, given how much development is happening and planned for that area. And how many OOC users may still choose to take a 30+tph service, or may specifically need to travel to Shepherds Bush or Notting Hill Gate, or Holborn, for instance.

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