I took another trip to London yesterday. I am visiting all of the 600 stations in London, one at a time, and adding some detail to each of these stations on my London travel accessibility site – London19.com ; I am getting there very slowly.
My aim is to make people aware with some very simple pictures of what to expect from any station, whether you are in a wheelchair, struggling with heavy luggage or a pushchair, or just generally very unfit, like myself.
This trip eventually started at Baker street, on the Jubilee line, and heading northwards. I later discovered that all of the stations southbound from here were clearly step free according to the TFL maps – this is probably true.
Baker street was interesting, and not step free, and lots of individual stairs. I chatted to one of the station staff, and asked whether there were any lifts. No, sorry, was the response. That’s OK, no apology necessary.
Next station was St Johns Wood. I have never visited any of these stations before. It was OK for me, just one long escalator. You can change between the north and south bound platforms quite easily. I did not check the step or gap onto the train.
Next station was Swiss Cottage, with a mixture of escalators, and stairs. I did not check each of the entrances, but they appear to vary between about 12 and 28 stairs. There is more detail on the inclusive guides which I link to (not necessarily up to date).
Finchley road Station was the next station on the Jubilee line. All looked OK, until I spotted the stairs, all of them. I did not count them, but apparently there are 28 stairs. My fitbit stair count is rising fast.
West Hampstead Station is next, and the stairs looked worse. In fact just a bit, with 31 stairs.
And then we have Kilburn Station. TFL mark this on their tube map as being step free from the platform to the street. That is OK, it is correct. Although there are stairs, there are lifts too. If they added a raised platform to part of the station, they could call it entirely step free. Stanmore has a similar designation, and I will talk more about this later. A lot more.
Willesden Green is the next station, and again this has 30 stairs. I am starting to get tired by this point. I get on and off at every station, and climb to the top, and march back down again. They are not the most interesting stations I have visited.
Next station is Dollis Hill, and more stairs, only 25 this time. Then there is a platform crossing below the train lines, etc..
The we arrive at Neasden, only 25 stairs, plus another 8 stairs a bit further on. I don’t spend much time outside the station, as ever. More stations to see.
Next station is the wonderful Wembley Park, an ultra-modern station with lifts. Rated step free, although I wonder how the lifts cope when the station is really busy.
Followed by Kingsbury, again a step free station. Perhaps this is a better way of visiting the area in peak times. I will leave you to check this out.
Sadly, Queensberry lets the side down again. This time with 29 steps followed up by a further 8 steps.
Nearly done, we arrive at Canons park, only 43 steps at this station! How do the local people cope with this? That is a lot of stairs in one flight.
Its OK, we are nearing Stanmore. Stanmore is designated a step free station from platform to street level. If it is anything like Kilburn, it will be a doddle.
I am a bit tired of climbing stairs today, so I will enjoy this nice slope to the street level to visit the station entrance.
Hang on, the first section of slope arrives at some steps upwards, going up towards the station, whilst the ramp then continues via some zig zag sections of metal ramp down to a car park. The car park is at the bottom of the hill, whilst the station is at the top of the hill. Thinking about this is reverse order, there is clearly step free access from the car park to the station, if you have the energy or drive to make your way up this slope. I took the stairs after the first section of slop, and arrived at the station entrance. Looking back down into the station, there were 48 stairs down to the platform!
And TFL have the cheek to pass this off as a step free station on their tube maps. It is technically correct, but an insult to the general public!!!! Look at the pictures, and it puts this all into perspective. This is the real reason I am building this site, to show what morons make up the simple set of symbols, which makes this station OK. It is rubbish like many of the nearby stations, and you are better off getting a bus.
Finally, I decided to head in the opposite direction, back to Baker street, and the next station onwards was Bond street. Apparently all stations from Bond street all the way to Stratford are incredibly step free. I know this is the case, and I have visited many of these previously.
So, to Bond street and beyond, here we come. Lets see how many more stations we can visit today.
Arriving at Bond street, after the platform had largely cleared, I spotted a rather excellent raised platform at one section. Unfortunately, the photograph was taken using flash. I can appreciate that flash may affect fire alarms, but I was told not to use it as it was like a gun going off – rubbish, its a camera flash. I took a few more pictures of the station, and came home.
TFL, why can you not do this, and describe your stations properly, it just needs one of your staff to wander round with a camera, and tell the true, and honest, story. Many are only standing around with too little to do.
I forgot to mention, one of the stations, had a sign up explaining that you could ask staff for a ramp to get on and off trains. I chatted briefly to a guard on the platform, and asked whether they could then bypass the stairs to exit the station. He just looked at me and shrugged. It’s not his problem.
I would love to get feedback, and additional information on any of the station I have yet to visit. I have lots of time, but this is still not enough to visit all 600 stations in a timely manner.