A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
There has been such a deal of money spent on the upgrade works to this station it's a bit of a shock to find there will not be lifts!
Anyone who is familiar with this station knows you don't have to be disabled (or even lazy) to want to avoid the really long stairways here.
The work should have provided Universal Access so that everybody who wants to travel can use the trains. Yes, this includes wheelchair-users, but also less obviously disabled people - maybe with a heart-condition, visual impairment or a stroke survivor. Many elderly people avoid using this station; and if you have ever tried to negotiate steps with a small-child, you know why parents with a toddler - plus push-chair & associated kiddie-luggage - don't use Alexandra Palace Station either.
This is an important travel-link, providing a fast service to Kings Cross & the City and access to other cross-London services. It's just not fair that so many people are excluded from using it.
It would be great if Bowes Park - and lots of other stations - were easier to use; but, in the meantime, Alexandra Palace is not that far away and it would be a such a terrible lost opportunity if they spoilt this ship for a ha-ppoth of tar, don't you think?
Richard, that is interesting.
I wonder what C/R2 would mean for the area as a whole though - if they ever get the money together - I haven't read your other post yet.
Off to look into it.
London Travelwatch have been on the case for a while, but have had no joy. See this page and their very lengthy correspondence with Network Rail, the Office of the Rail Regulator and two transport ministers. I've only skimmed through it so far, but the upshot seems to be that it won't happen because (a) the new platform doesn't count as station enhancement - which is true, since they've closed one of the existing platforms - and (b) they can't afford it.
In one of the documents I read that disabled people are entitled to a free taxi service to a suitable station - seems rather hard to believe. Must try to find that bit again.
Quite apart from the major problem caused by the long climbs at Ally Pally and at neighbouring Hornsey and Harringay, and of course, at Bowes Park, the infrastructure at all four stations has been a disgrace ever since the original station buildings were demolished (back in the 1970s, I imagine). The lack of any roof over the stairs means that in wet weather passengers have to wade through puddles and mud. I think it was Ken Livingstone who suggested that suburban stations like these should be taken over by the Overground - since the Overground took over the former Silverlink lines the conditions at stations like Harringay Green Lanes have improved markedly.
I suspect that if either of the two ministers were the MP for an area with stations in such a state, they would have been added to the upgrade list a long time ago.
I've found the reference to providing a taxi. Norman Baker's letter of 6th December states that "train operators will provide a free of charge accessible taxi to anyone unable to use a particular station". Well, perhaps if we arranged for twenty people per day to turn up demanding a free taxi, they might conclude that it would be cheaper to put in lifts!
Today Haringey Council leader Claire Kober has written to the Government Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to press for better disabled access at Ally Pally Station details - Cllr Kober said:
“This station serves an iconic landmark that people come from all over London to visit, in addition to its role as a major conference and exhibition centre.
“It also provides a key route into London for our residents, so it is only fair that any renewal work includes better disabled facilities so that our transport links are accessible for all.
“Making sure disabled people have equal opportunities to others is a fundamental part of a modern society.”
A full copy of the correspondence - is on LB Haringey website.
It's great to have this support from Haringey - according to Hansard, even Nadine Dorries (MP) is interested!
The whole notion of Universal Access is so obviously good for the entire community; bit of a "no-brainer" really. It's so difficult to get to & from the platforms at all the local stations on this line you'd think they'd be glad of the extra custom from everybody who isn't keen on footbridge mountaineering.
Generally speaking, close study of the London Travelwatch correspondence indicates that Network Rail avoided applying for a derogation (on the need to include access provision) for this project by describing it as "minor platform works". It does not look "minor" to me.
This correspondence also shows one of Network Rail's claims in support of their "not economically viable" stance is that too few people use this station. Curiously their figures do not include those traveling with a Pensioner/Freedom Pass - & they do not appear to consider the effect the overwhelmingly un-userfriendly nature of this station must have on potential traveller numbers.
As Cross-rail 2 won't be an option until 2030 (if that), & as the tube gets ever more crowded, can this community wait that long for a train?
Agree absolutely. I was shocked that these improvements weren't going to include lifts. I signed a petition or at least left a message on Haringey Council's Twitter account the other day (my memory's going!).
This line is very "challenging" in terms of stairs etc. - but if we could get universal access at Ally Pally it does feed into the existing Cross-Rail service, the tube at Highbury & Islington and all that is Kings Cross-St. Pancras. Not enough - but it's a start!
If the reason for not installing lifts is the cost and ongoing maintenance, wouldnt it be possible to add ramps? this would help with most types of mobility needs (admittedly not all)..