The Guardian yesterday posted a fabulously in-depth article on the experiment that took place at Holborn station about getting people to stand on the left as well as the right on one of the escalators there. When people walk up, 81 people can get up an escalator in a minute But when everyone stands on both sides then 112 people can make it! Read the full article.
Embankment station re-opened last week on the Northern and Bakerloo lines and so we popped down to have a look at the new escalators. We noted that it’s only some of the escalators that have been replaced, others are still the same old ones.
Amusingly, the down escalator to the southbound Northern Line was already broken when we paid a visit, with many men from OTIS standing round in their bright orange jackets wondering how they were going to make it work again.
Many of the passageways have also had a complete facelift, with nice new shiny cream tiles along many of the corridors and the stairwells, so it looks all clean and new, although other parts of the station could still do with a scrub – the northbound Bakerloo line platform here looks rather dull and uninspiring,
But the best bit the very best bit – is some of the new signage that they’ve installed, and a blatant error that appears!
On the Bakerloo Line maps they’ve put ‘Willesden Green’ instead of Willesden Junction, which is hilarious … Willesden Green of course is on the Jubilee Line.
So someone has had some ‘JCTN’ stickers made up (not even the full word!) to cover them up, but they’ve missed one and we found where it was …
Yesterday TfL ran their first ever Accessibility Exhibition down at London’s ExCeL centre, and we popped down in the afternoon to see what was on offer and catch up with some familiar faces.
Most familiar was our friend Christiane Link from Transport for All – who were all celebrating the fact that just that morning an extra £19 million had been agreed to make all Crossrail stations step free.
This is for where the new Crossrail line is taking over existing stations where there currently are no lifts, and the original plans for Crossrail did not make any provision for them. Transport for All (amongst others) campaigned hard against this and the good news now is that all London Crossrail stations will have step-free access. (There are still three outside of London which are being negotiated).
(Read more here on Londonist)
There was also the news that another £75 million had become available to make more stations on the tube network such as Mill Hill East, Newbury Park, Osterley, West Brompton and White City accessible.
There was a whole range of information about accessible service and future transport services coming to London, something that caught our eye was the artists impression of what Greenford will look when the new inclinator is finally installed and running next year.
With major work taking place on the escalators at Cutty Sark DLR station at the bottom, there is only step and lift access when entering the station – there is only an escalator out at the moment.
So there’s a big sign up saying that the lift is for wheelchairs and prams only – as a temporary poster – but this is up next to a permanent sign suggesting that it is always the case at this station, and is the first time we’ve seen a permanent sign suggesting that this is the case at a station.
The accessibility works to turn Greenford into a step-free station have picked up pace, and we got word that yesterday would be the last day that the sole-remaining wooden escalator on the Underground would be running, so we popped down to have a look.
Unfortunately, it transpired that the up-only wooden escalator had already been turned off a couple of days ago (we think it last ran on Sunday), and there was no last chance to ride it.
The new up escalator on the far left hand side from the bottom was running, complete with a friendly member of TfL staff pointing it out to people who were failing to read the sign and were going to trudge up the stairs instead.
“They’re replacing the middle stairs as well”, they told us. What with – new stairs? (Actually, it will be wider and with tactile paving). But work apparently starts today on removing it and will be replaced with what’s being called an incline lift – a lift that works along the angle of an escalator. It’s meant to be for those with accessibility issues, but it’s going to be such a novelty having one at a tube station that there are going to be people who go there just to take a ride on it.
Actually, if you want to know what an incline lift is like – there is already one in London here, it’s just not at a station.
“Can you see what’s different about it .. it’s made of wood!” said a mother bending down with her small child and asking and answering a question all in the same breath. Most people just walked on past, some it seems realised the significance.
So, farewell to our old wooden friend – the sole survivor in the wake of the 1987 King’s Cross fire, as another little piece of Underground history disappears.
A reminder that work started today at Embankment station to replace the old escalators down to both the Bakerloo and Northern Line platforms, meaning that from today – and until November when it is projected work will be finished, only District and Circle line trains will be stopping at Embankment station. This is actually the only new thing that we’ve spotted on the latest tube map, everything else looks the same as before!
TfL point out on their website, that it’s literally a 60 second walk up or down Villiers street between Embankment station and Charing Cross meaning you can get to your Bakerloo and Northern Line services there instead.