The Elizabeth line is transforming the accessibility of the transport network for passengers across London and the south east. All 41 Elizabeth line stations will be step-free to platform level when fully open, staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance.
Accessibility doesn’t start or end at the train. Our stations and urban realm spaces around the stations have been designed to provide a clear, easy-to-understand environment.
GETTING TO THE STATION
The accessibility of the railway includes not only the service and the stations but also the overall experience as passengers go to and from the stations.
The areas outside stations need to work effectively as transport interchanges and get people to the next stage of their journey on foot, by bike, bus or taxi, as well as being attractive and pleasant public spaces to spend time in. These areas have been designed to be free from clutter, legible, attractive, adaptable, sustainable, safe and secure.
Elizabeth line improvements to the urban realm include:
- Pavements - widened, uncluttered pavements providing a clear route to the station entrance
- Crossings - improved passenger journeys through relocation of crossings or adding new crossings to provide a more logical and/or direct route to the station entrance, with dropped kerbs and tactile pavements
- Signage - Legible London signage both inside and outside stations provides a consistent experience, large station markers outside stations
- Places to stop and rest - benches around our stations
- Onward travel options - bus stops, taxi ranks, accessible drop-off and pickup points are included in the urban realm around our stations
- Material choice - Hardwearing materials such as granite and yorkstone lead to longer-lasting improvements
AT THE STATION
All 41 Elizabeth line stations will be step-free from the street to the platform. As part of preparation works for the Elizabeth line, Network Rail and TfL have upgraded a number of the surface stations in the east and west, where needed, with new lifts providing better access for all. At some stations this has been a complex endeavour due to the age of the stations - at Grade II listed Hanwell station, for example, TfL’s contractors excavated one of the new lifts by hand so that the historic timber canopy could be left in place. The new stations in central London have been built with accessibility in mind. At two of these stations - Farringdon and Liverpool Street, the location of the station entrances required the installation of incline lifts, which move diagonally alongside escalators.
Outstanding works continue at Ilford station where Network Rail is currently rebuilding the station with a new ticket hall and three new lifts. Work is underway and the new station building is anticipated to be completed in summer 2022.
All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from the first to the last train, providing a turn-up-and-go service for customers who require any assistance including deploying boarding ramps between the platform and the train. Help points are also available at all Elizabeth line stations.
The new stations between Paddington and Woolwich have all been designed to provide level boarding with the new Elizabeth line trains. The platforms at the Heathrow stations are also at the same height to provide level boarding. At the other stations along the Elizabeth line customers may need assistance to access the train, with staff on hand to deploy boarding ramps between the platform and the train.
New interchanges in central London
Since the launch of the railway in May 2022 passengers are benefitting from new interchanges which improve accessibility for other services connected to the Elizabeth line. An example of this is at Liverpool Street, where a new step-free interchange with the Northern line has been created, accessible from the Elizabeth line platforms.
A number of Elizabeth line stations will have toilet facilities, with some central stations having toilet provision in an adjacent building. Where toilet facilities exist within stations, at least one will be fully accessible.
A Radar key will be needed to unlock some accessible toilets at stations but these can be requested to be opened by a staff member if needed. A link to the accessible toilet map can be found here: TfL Toilets Map.
ON THE TRAIN
Elizabeth line trains include the following features:
- Clearly distinguished priority seats with a different moquette design
- Four dedicated spaces for wheelchair users in carriage 5 (the central carriage)
- Ten multi-use spaces for wheelchair users, buggies, luggage and bicycles (located in carriages 2,3,4,6,7 & 8)
- Audio and visual information about the train’s journey in each carriage
- Facilities to speak to the driver in the event of an emergency
- CCTV images of all carriage interiors viewable by the driver
ACCESSIBILITY THROUGH THE OPENING PHASES
The Elizabeth line is opening in a number of stages between 2022 and 2023.
The new railway opened on 24 May 2022 with a new passenger service between ten new London stations from Paddington to Abbey Wood, with the new Class 345 trains through new tunnels under central London. This is a new service, and has brought immediate benefits to millions of passengers since opening with 12 trains per hour, in each direction, all day until the next phase of opening.
Services from Reading and Heathrow to Paddington mainline, and from Shenfield to Liverpool Street mainline have been rebranded from TfL Rail to the Elizabeth line. Until the next phase of opening the Elizabeth line operates as three separate railways. The services on the east and west continue to run into the mainline stations and passengers wishing to continue their journey to one of the new Elizabeth line central London stations will need to change to Paddington or Liverpool Street Elizabeth line stations.
If customers require assistance at Paddington or Liverpool Street mainline stations, Elizabeth line staff will be on hand to provide any assistance required. If travelling on a different operator’s service (instead of the Elizabeth line) to the mainline stations customers will need to arrange assistance through that operator.
The Elizabeth line route at launch in May 2022.
Later in 2022, the next phase of opening the Elizabeth line will integrate services from the east and west into the new central stations bringing additional benefits to those travelling to and from the east and west. This connection brings the three railways together and enables services from Reading and Heathrow through to Abbey Wood and from Shenfield through to Paddington. This means there will no longer be a need to change between the mainline station and Elizabeth line station, unless specifically travelling on a service terminating at these stations.
Read the full detail of each opening phase here.