News Walthamstow

Walthamstow Central escalators not working 43 times in just seven months

Transport for London told the Echo that the escalators have ‘reliability issues due to their age’

This sight has become a regular occurence at Walthamstow Central in recent months.

Escalators at Walthamstow Central Station were out of service more than 40 times between 6th April and 11th November last year, compared to twelve times in the entire 2022/23 financial year.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, Transport for London (TfL), revealed that the station’s two escalators had been out of service a total of 20 and 23 times in the 2023/24 financial year up until 11th November. This compares to a total of four and eight times in 2022/23.

A TfL spokesperson said that the escalators have “reliability issues” due to their age.

The spokesperson said: “Both escalators at Walthamstow Central station are having reliability issues due to their age. We have assessed the issues causing them to be out of use and have ordered the parts needed to refurbish both escalators.”

TfL added that its replacement wheels for the escalators “are currently on a nine month lead due to material challenges” and that once the stock becomes available it will “fully assess” the escalators again to make any repairs that are required, which will “improve” the escalators’ reliability.

Data on the escalators being taken out of service was based on the escalators being the “root cause” of the problems and did not include other causes that have resulted in them being taken out of service, such as customer vandalism, or power failure, TfL said.

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Walthamstow local Jake Weekes told the Echo he was actively avoiding the station because of the escalator problems. “I use Walthamstow Central roughly three times a week but…due to the issues, I now choose [to travel from] Blackhorse Road.

He added: “We moved to the Blackhorse Lane area in ‘92. Before that we lived on Boundary Road, and Walthamstow Central was the closest station, but in the last five years, Walthamstow [Central] is not somewhere that I’d use for the Victoria Line, I use other stations. But it’s not as easy for other people to do that.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We apologise to customers at Walthamstow Central station for the unreliability of the escalators at the station over the past year. Our engineers have been working hard to keep them running safely. We are waiting on new parts for the machinery and as soon as these arrive the escalators will be repaired as soon as possible.”

Routine overcrowding at the station has been worsened by the escalators being out of service.

In September, hundreds of rush hour commuters were held up in queues to evacuate the station after a fire alert on the Victoria Line. The alert occurred at the same time as the down escalator was out of service.

At the time a commuter told the Echo: “There was a bit of panic around and it was quite stressful, especially for those less able to move and parents with buggies.

“The station is not fit for purpose…it’s only a matter of time that something serious happens.”

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