Apology over delay to station’s new lifts

Fire alarm fault at Blackhorse Road has postponed opening of its lifts for a year

Work at Blackhorse Road Station

Work continues on one of the new lift shafts at Blackhorse Road Station

Network Rail has apologised over a year-long delay to new lifts at Blackhorse Road Station.

The lifts to the London Overground platforms were supposed to be ready for use when the line first reopened to the public in February 2017, following eight months of work to electrify the route between Gospel Oak and Barking.

However, in addition to a series of engineering mistakes that led to a further closure of the line for several weeks in 2017 and into 2018, an ongoing technical problem with the new lifts means they are yet to be opened for use a year after their original opening date. This is despite the electrification work on the line now being complete.

A spokesperson for Network Rail, which has led the improvement works, said: “The lifts at Blackhorse Road have been delayed because of issues with integrating them into the fire alarm system, which is critical for their safe use.

“We have now rectified these issues and started works on site which are expected to finish at the end of February. I’d like to apologise for the delay to this work and thank passengers for their patience.”

The Gospel Oak to Barking line reopened on 15th January following the installation of new overhead electric lines that will enable four-car electric trains to run. The new trains are now being tested and are due to be launched on the line this spring.

Of eleven railway stations in Waltham Forest only four currently provide step-free access, using ramps. Blackhorse Road is due to become the fifth. The plans to improve accessibility at the station were first announced six years ago.

Sheila Gadsdon, vice-chair of local charity Shopmobility Waltham Forest, told the Echo that travelling on public transport for people with disabilities was often a frustrating experience. “I don’t use Blackhorse Road because I can’t, but I will when there are lifts,” she said. “People in Walthamstow have to travel so much further to find a station that’s accessible. You have to plan your journey a long way in advance.

“The new lifts will make a lot of difference to people like me because we haven’t been able to even use Blackhorse Road.”