Debden tube station has become the latest to get step-free access with the opening of a new footbridge with lifts linking the two platforms.
At the moment, there are two footbridges over the station – one 1970s footbridge that gives the public a way over the railway, and one inside the station ticket area for the platforms.
The existing platform footbridge is the original GER footbridge from 1890, made in Millwall by Joseph Westood, so rather than replacing it, London Underground has built a new footbridge further along the platform, where there’s also more space for the 17-person rated lifts.
The lifts are large not necessarily due to the need to carry 17 people at a time, but to be able to have enough space for wheelchairs. The new footbridge is also only for the lift passengers, as there’s only a staff access staircase. The existing staircase will continue to provide foot passenger access between the stations.
Debden station opened as a single platform station in April 1865, and was originally called Chigwell Road, but was renamed just a few months later as Chigwell Lane.
It was enlarged in 1893 when the single railway track and platform were doubled to the station’s current layout.
Initially, a mainline railway service operated by the Great Eastern Railway, it was handed over to London Underground in 1938, but due to the war, conversion to tube trains didn’t happen until September 1949, which is when it was renamed for a third time – to Debden station.
Although the current ticket hall looks rather shabby, it’s a fairly rare example of early 1970s London Underground architecture.