Network Rail has a long standing plan to upgrade Plumstead station in southeast London to make it accessible but has had to file a number of applications following objections to earlier schemes.
It’s now back with the latest amendments, and if approved, work could start shortly.
At the moment, there is a ticket office on the London bound side of the station, with stairs down to the platform, and a footbridge plus stairs down to the Kent side platform. Network Rail wants to install two new lift shafts at the station to make it fully accessible for the first time.
Network Rail has been attempting to improve the station for some years. An initial application was rejected by the council in November 2017. A second attempt was approved in November 2018, but following complaints about the planned changes, mainly the removal of the old footbridge to be replaced with a modern design, they had to go back to the start. A third attempt was approved earlier this year in February. They’ve now filed a fourth application with some modest changes to the plans, which are now pending with Greenwich Council.
The latest changes could see the lift on Platform 2 moved and the lift on Platform 1 changed to a through-style, that is, with two doors on either side. They also want to move the lift motor rooms to be underneath the footbridge.
Network Rail says that recent ground surveys show they can have a through lift for Platform 1, which is a better design for customers as the old design had the doors at right angles to each other. In essence, at street level, for example, you would go into the lift, and the exit to the platform would be to the left side instead of in front of you. A through lift with an exit opposite the entrance is much easier to use, especially for people with larger wheelchairs.
Network Rail also want to move the planned location for the lift on Platform 2 after they found there was a risk that people could jump onto the lift roof from a nearby footpath.
Assuming the plans are approved though, the station will gain the two lifts it has long required. The area in Plumstead around the station is being redeveloped with new blocks of flats and will see a marked increase in passenger numbers over the next few years.
The station is served mainly by Southeastern, with less frequent Thameslink trains.