Harrow-on-the Hill has become London’s 91st step-free tube station, meaning that a third of Underground stations are now step-free.
The new lifts have been installed at Harrow-on-the-Hill tube station, providing a step-free route between the street and the trains. In addition, station signage has been enhanced to assist with wayfinding. Boarding ramps will continue to support customers boarding or alighting Chiltern trains that also call at the station, and with TfL’s Turn-up-and-go service, staff will be on hand to assist customers if required. Customers can also interchange with TfL bus services at nearby Harrow Bus Station. All bus routes are served by low-floor vehicles, with an access ramp and dedicated space for wheelchair users.
The lifts opened to the public early last week, although the lifts were expected to have been completed in Spring 2020 before the pandemic delayed the works.
The lift structure that’s been created is substantial. Each of the three island platforms has a lift shaft leading up to a new dedicated footbridge that links the three lifts to a new entrance in front of the ticket barriers.
A few interesting touches are noticeable. The drain around the front of the lift entrance to keep the pavement dry, and a help-point next to each lift. The help point placement is also why one side of the platform lift entrance is fenced off and the other is not, so people can’t accidentally try to squeeze past someone using the help point. The lifts are 17-people capacity, and although not wide enough to turn a wheelchair around in, as the exit is always opposite the entrance that wouldn’t be an issue.
The completion of the step-free scheme at Harrow-on-the-Hill increases the total number of step-free London Underground stations to 91, meaning that one-third of the 272 stations on the tube network now offer step-free access between street and platform.
The Otis lifts used at Harrow-on-the-Hill station were installed by Taylor Woodrow BAM Nuttall Joint Venture.
The old parcels lifts are still there, but were unsuitable for conversion to passenger lifts, and wouldn’t have given a link up to the ticket hall anyway.
Oh, and trainspotters can get excited, as the new footbridge gives very good views over the tops of the platforms.
During the rest of this year, TfL will complete a range of step-free projects that are currently under construction and began prior to the pandemic. These include step-free access to the Northern line at Moorgate, which became step-free to the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines last year. TfL is also progressing step-free access work that will make busy Zone 1 stations partially step-free in 2022. These are at Bank (Northern line and DLR Interchange only) and Paddington (Bakerloo line only).
TfL is currently reviewing the results of its recent public consultation to help shape future step-free access priorities, with final outcomes of the consultation communicated in the summer.