diamond geezer

 Sunday, November 19, 2017

Friday's opening of the new entrance to Bond Street station ticks off a special achievement - it's become only the third step-free tube station inside the loop of the Circle line. This time last year there was only Green Park, but two Crossrail-related upgrades in 2017 have trebled the total. At Bond Street it takes three lifts to get from street level to the Central line (two downs and an up), but then you can ride the tube to the other end of Oxford Street... which'll be dead useful when it's pedestrianised and all the step-free buses disappear. Learn more about the new entrance (and the labyrinth beyond) from Ian's photos, or from Geoff's video.

Meanwhile, here's my attempt at a chronology of all the wholly step-free tube stations in Zone 1.

YearInside the
Circle line
On the
Circle line
Outside the
Circle line
1999 WestminsterSouthwark
London Bridge
2005  Earl's Court
2010 King's Cross St Pancras 
2011Green ParkBlackfriars 
2012 Farringdon 
2016 Tower HillVauxhall
2017Tottenham Court Road
Bond Street
now3 out of 21 = 14%5 out of 27 = 19%4 out of 15 = 27%
2018 Victoria
2020  Nine Elms
Battersea Power Station

This may not seem an impressive list, but most stations in Zone 1 are over 100 years old, and you can't berate the Victorians and Edwardians for their failure to futureproof. Every new tube station built in the last 40 years is step-free (Hatton Cross being the last that wasn't), but we don't build much rail infrastructure in Central London any more, which is one reason why Crossrail will be so transformational.

The next step-free connection will be at Bank, when the new Walbrook entrance to the Waterloo and City line opens next month. Making only one end of a 2-stop line step-free obviously isn't ideal, but every upgrade helps. Let's hope they solve the challenge of how to show the new blob on next month's tube map without making a complete visual mess.

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