Paddington tube station’s new step-free access to the Bakerloo line is nearing completion and can now be seen by the public as the protective hoardings around the building site are pushed back.

The new entrance to the Bakerloo line is being provided as part of the redevelopment of the former postal sorting office that used to stand next to Paddington mainline station’s primary pedestrian (and former taxi) entrance.

Although there’s an entrance to the Bakerloo line inside the mainline station, it’s quicker and easier to use the secondary entrances that take people directly down to just the Bakerloo line. However, those were narrow, and there was no step-free access from the street to the platform.

As part of the Paddington Cube office development, a large new entrance has been built, some four times the size of the current cramped space, and will see the number of ticket barrier gates doubled to twelve. In addition to the bank of new escalators, there are lifts down to the platform level.

There is step-free access to the Bakerloo line at the moment, but only if you go in via the new Elizabeth line entrance and then walk back under Paddington station through the long tunnel linking the two lines. Realistically, for the vast majority, this new entrance will be considerably more convenient.

It will not be long until it opens to the public which is currently expected this summer.

And now a bit of a moan:

Last week, I naively shared a few photos on social media, thinking they would interest people, and unleashed a load of complaints that having escalators doesn’t make the station step-free.

If the new entrance were built without a lift, they’d be correct, but it does have a lift, and rather than asking or researching, people lept in without looking first with complaints. No one asked if there was a lift – they complained that there wasn’t one.

Just because the photo doesn’t include something doesn’t mean it’s not there, around the corner or behind the photographer. After all, I didn’t photograph the door handles, but I am pretty sure the doors come with them.

After a rather unpleasant message elsewhere accusing me of ableism etc, I deleted the photos out of sheer frustration.

So, please think before tweet.


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  1. Jon Jones says:

    Just get off Twitter Ian. It gets more toxic every day under Space Karen’s control. Switch to Mastodon or BlueSky (No invites needed nowadays)

    • ChrisC says:

      It’s not just twitter. It’s the same on facebook where people comment without having read the article which if they had they would have known it contained the info they are asking about.

      Some times Ian has to comment “read the article” more than once because people are lazy and want to be spoon fed.

    • ianVisits says:

      The name of the social media app doesn’t change human behaviour — and the worst message was sent by email.

      I am on BlueSky etc, but can’t use Mastodon until they fix their famous DDOS effect whenever a link to a website is posted there.

  2. Brian Butterworth says:

    I’m paying you my monthly fee to read you via RSS and feedly, so I don’t care about tXitter!

    Every single person I’ve ever known who has gone online has had stop public interactions. There just gets to be a point where the former green-ink brigade becomes impossible.

    • ChrisC says:

      The former green ink brigade at least had to make some effort and write a proper letter, put a stamp on the envelope and take it to the post box.

      But these days anyone can send an email or Facebook message within seconds of being outraged about something – send it to 20 people and organisations at the same time.

  3. Drew says:

    The square directly outside the station entrance is a bit empty and sad looking. I wonder if there’s a plan to add planting, or seating? Or will it just because one giant ash tray as we have to navigate endless second hand cancer smoke?

    • Paul says:

      There’s a zig-zaggy stepped seating area, currently behind the hoardings, breaking up the straight lines between the arrivals ramp and the upper (former London Street) level.
      There are also benches and saplings on the upper level, but I think the lower level is expected to be too busy a throughfare, more of an outdoor extension of the station concourse.

      There’s more in the planning documents, search for “31 London Street” on the Westminster planning portal but be warned – there’s a lot to sift through!

  4. Kev says:

    Many thanks for your post!
    Any idea when completion is? It was supposed to be January but now I hear April.

  5. Kartik says:

    Does anyone know what the latest updates are with knightsbridge step-free access project? Thanks

  6. Annabel says:

    How stupid people are! Mind you, there are those, like me, who prefer “stair-free” to “step-free” – I’m quite happy to use escalators, but prefer not to use stairs if there is an alternative. And they have ruined Victoria Station by making the interchange between the Victoria and District Lines a very long (albeit “step-free”) walk; before, there were a few stairs but it was a short interchange. Can’t please everybody, of course, but I wish that alternative was still there for those who, like me, prefer less walking!

  7. nick says:

    The trick for the shortest walk at Victoria between the Victoria line and District line (in that direction) is to use the lift from the Victoria line platforms – in the circulating area near the front of southbound trains/back of northbound trains. If you go up one level it takes to you to the circulating area just beneath the District line platforms. From there you follow the signs to the westbound platform, which is effectively the ‘old’ way it used to be before the station was enlarged. |If you stay in the lift up to the next level it brings you out at the front end of the eastbound platform.

    In the other direction the lift from the eastbound District line is the same one, so just use it all the way down to the Victoria line. From the westbound District the ‘old’ set of stairs right at the back of the platform gives the fastest access to the escalators down to the Victoria line, but in peak hours they are sometimes used as one-way ONTO the platform, so you just need to follow the regular signs to the new stairs which are almost adjacent. It’s a bit longer, but not hugely.

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