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Wheelchair user on a tube train

Work making Northolt station step-free back on track

Work will resume to make Northolt tube station, on the West Ruislip branch of the Central line, step-free after it was paused due to the pandemic. Transport for London (TfL) also plans to start design work on making North Acton on the Central line and West Hampstead on the Jubilee line step-free, while also addressing capacity constraints.

This follows TfL confirming in summer 2023 that it would be reviewing ten Underground stations, spread across the capital, for potential step-free access.

The 10 stations, which included Northolt, North Acton and West Hampstead, were identified using an approach focused on benefits, costs, funding opportunities and impact on customers. The approach was also influenced by feedback from accessibility campaigners and TfL’s consultation on step-free access, which attracted 5,500 responses. This feedback highlighted the importance of TfL addressing the gaps in areas that have few step-free stations.

Construction work was about to start at Northolt Tube station to make it step-free when the pandemic hit. Work has now been completed to re-analyse the design, construction and costing and TfL is able to confirm that this scheme will go ahead, with a construction start date of early 2025 following awarding of contracts for the next phase, completion of remaining design activities and site mobilisation.

Councillor Deirdre Costigan, Ealing Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action, said: “Since 2021, Ealing Council has been pressing TfL to re-start work, stopped during Covid, to install lifts in Northolt station. So this is fantastic news that will delight local parents, disabled and older residents who will now find it much easier to use one of our busiest stations. North Action station is also a priority for us and it’s great to see plans for lifts at this station progress to the next stage, ensuring more of our borough is accessible to all of our residents and visitors.”

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “London’s diversity is one of its biggest strengths and the Mayor wants everyone to be able to participate in and enjoy all that our great city has to offer.

“The Mayor, TfL and I are determined to make London’s transport network as accessible as possible. We are committed to increasing the proportion of step-free Tube stations and I’m delighted that TfL has confirmed the next stations where work will get underway. This is just one of the ways we are working to build a better, fairer city for all Londoners.”

Northolt is also on the Superloop SL9 route, linking Heathrow to Harrow. TfL has one of the most accessible bus networks in the world with all routes served by low-floor vehicles and an access ramp and dedicated space for wheelchair users. Making Northolt step-free will open up new journey options for those travelling to Heathrow Airport using Superloop services.

TfL will provide a full overview of the London Underground step-free access programme later in 2024, once the feasibility work is completed and discussions with key stakeholders have concluded, including funding partners.

Ensuring greater access to transport links to reduce reliance on high polluting cars is part of the council’s climate and ecological strategy.

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