Network Rail’s project to improve Southall Station has created a considerable increase in space for customers, along with three new lifts, which means that the station has step-free access to all four of its platforms.
The work is part of the Crossrail project, with Southall station being the latest to benefit from redevelopment ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line in early 2022, which will bring increased usage to the station.
The station re-opened on Thursday the 26th of August 2021, revealing the transformation with customers benefiting from a lighter and brighter, more spacious entrance and the newly constructed glass and steel ticket hall which features a wider gate line for tickets and also contactless payments. Other new features are the three brand new lifts along with a new footbridge, which all give step-free access to all platforms.
For customers that require ramps to board trains, staff will be available at all times whilst trains are running with a turn-up-and-go facility operating at all Transport for London (TfL) stations for customers who need assistance.
Brand new customer information screens and new ticket machines are also part of the make-over and will bring a better customer experience. Further planned work will see the toilets being refurbished and also the waiting room, making it accessible for customers. With a new forecourt, the station building also features wider doorways, which will mean less congestion at the entrance.
Originally opening in 1839, Southall station is now served by TfL Rail and Great Western Railway services.
In order to accommodate the Elizabeth line trains, which are over 200m in length, Network Rail have extended the platforms. The station now also enjoys new signage, which are bilingual, to serve the large Punjabi community local to the station and is one of only a few stations in England to do so.
Other stations to recently re-open following similar redevelopment work are Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and West Drayton. Network Rail are also finishing work at Hayes and Harlington station, which also includes an increased capacity ticket hall, new lifts providing step-free access and should be opening later in 2021 for local residents and also passengers travelling to and from Heathrow.
Once all 41 of the Elizabeth line stations from London Paddington to Heathrow and Reading are finished, every station on the line will have lifts giving step-free access.
Whitechapel station has re-opened its ticket hall recently, which also features lifts that give step-free access to both the London Underground and London Overground ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line. Wimbledon Park Tube station is another station to get a lift installed which again now provides step-free travel. With work underway at Osterley, Sudbury Hill, and Harrow-on-the-Hill, which will include step-free access by the end of 2021.
Funding for the cost of the considerable project will come from London and once the Elizabeth line opens in early 2022 will run as three separate railways. Customers travelling from Southall will have to change at Paddington for services reaching the central section of the route during the early stages of opening.
Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “I’m pleased to see transformational upgrades completed at Southall Station, which improve accessibility and deliver better, more modern facilities for passengers. This will benefit the local community immediately and readies the station for when the Elizabeth line opens next year.”
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “I’m delighted that Southall is the latest station to benefit from a range of Elizabeth line upgrades including a more spacious entrance and step-free access. These improvements will make a big difference to passengers ahead of the opening of the line next year.”
Howard Smith, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for the Elizabeth line, said: “The Elizabeth line is going to be transformational, and by opening the new ticket hall and lifts at Southall station there is now a modern entrance ready for customers to use for many years to come. It’s great to see the upgraded bilingual station signage alongside the wider refurbishments and I really hope the people of Southall are pleased with these new improvements which make the station much more accessible and inviting.”
Elizabeth line Director at Network Rail, Tim Ball, said: “As passengers return to the railway it is great news that yet another station has been significantly upgraded. Our completion of the stunning new ticket hall and addition of step-free access at Southall follows hot on the heels of our similar transformations of Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and West Drayton which opened to passengers earlier this year. Southall is now ready for the Elizabeth line and its new facilities will improve passenger journeys for generations to come.”
Katie Pennick, Campaigns Lead, Transport for All, said: “We are delighted to see step free access instated at Southall station for the very first time, enabling more disabled people to make journeys with confidence and ease. Inaccessible infrastructure locks so many people out of the network, so we are thrilled to see the Elizabeth line continue to transform stations and contribute to a more accessible transport system.”
Karamjit Singh, Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall (SGSS) representative, said:”We as a community are looking forward to using the new upgraded and modern station. It will benefit many who already live around the area and others in having accessibility to platforms, especially for our elderly. The heart of Southall is its people and we are pleased to see our Punjabi language as a signature focal point.”
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