Southall station in West London has opened a new ticket hall with footbridge and step-free access as part of the preparations for the Elizabeth line.
The old station entrance was too small to cope with expected passenger demand, so they’ve built an entirely new station entrance slightly to the north of the railway, with a new footbridge linking with the four existing platforms.
The footbridge also includes lifts, giving the station step-free access for the first time. Southall station is staffed at all times while trains are running with ramps available for those that need them to board trains. All TfL Rail stations operate a turn-up-and-go service for customers needing assistance.
The new station entrance is quite a sharp contrast with the small brick building it is replacing, with a double-height glass frontage and steel canopy. It has also been set back from the road, creating a wider pavement compared to the older entrance.
The station also has refreshed signage maintaining the bilingual information that was installed due to the large Punjabi community in the area – one of the few stations in England with bilingual signage.
As part of the upgrades to the station, to accommodate the longer Elizabeth line trains, they also had to extend the lengths of the four numbered platforms. Technically there’s a fifth unnumbered platform, but it’s currently only used for special events and wasn’t extended. There is though a lingering plan to reopen the Southall to Brentford railway, which could see the fifth platform brought back into use.
Now that the new entrance has opened, the plan is to close the old entrance, although the footbridge facilities will remain in place to provide a secondary exit should they ever be needed. The future for the old ticket hall building has not been decided yet.
Demolition of the old entrance to allow for the widening of the narrow pavement would be a very good long term idea, but that would depend on securing the funding.