Step-free access has this week become a reality for all passengers at Crystal Palace station, a fine example of Victorian railway architecture but built with little consideration for the disabled or infirm.
Three new lifts from the ticket hall to platforms and connecting walkways have completed a refurbishment programme that started with the £7.5million restoration of the Grade II listed Victorian ticket hall at the historic station.
Lift 1 (serving platform 1) and lift 2 (serving platforms 2, 3 and 4) hold a maximum of 16 passengers while lift 3 (serving platforms 5 and 6) holds eight. Lift 3 is smaller due to the space constraints of the existing structure.
According to Inside Croydon’s loyal reader, it is “a very good refurbishment of an old station”.
They say, “The 1980s glass ticket office is now demolished the 1890s ticket office has been refurbished, and a new café plus toliets” have been provided, too.
The irony/pity/shame is that the neighbouring stadium at the sports centre will no longer be staging major athletics meetings, attracting tens of thousands to the station from the south coast and central London three or four times a year; it is also a long time since the pool staged any significant international events.
Thus the renovated railway station will serve mainly visitors to the park and commuting local residents, although it would be a significant infrastructure asset if Crystal Palace Football Club’s plans to build a new stadium on the site go ahead.
According to Transport for London, the 11,000 passengers using the station each day will benefit not only from the lifts but also improved CCTV, customer information screens, a PA system, and new signage which were delivered last September in the first stage of the refurbishment.
The station was built in 1854 to serve visitors to the spectacular Crystal Palace relocated from the Hyde Park Great Exhibition of 1851.
Faryal Velmi, a director of Transport for All, “This is brilliant news for everyone who has campaigned for a step-free Crystal Palace station; in particular disabled and older Londoners who will be able to finally use the station – some of us for the first time.
“However there is no doubt that the lift will benefit everyone, from people travelling with children or carrying shopping, to businesses in Crystal Palace who will see increased footfall as the area is opened up to more people. TfA believes that this is another step along the way to equal access to transport for disabled and older people in the capital.”
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