Frustrated residents told lifts at Gidea Park station won’t be working for at least another year
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 October 2018
The lifts at the station were installed in the summer, but Network Rail has said that they won’t be working until next winter.
Frustrated Gidea Park residents have been told they must wait another year before lifts already installed at the station will start working.
Two lifts - to provide step-free access to the platforms - were installed at the station over the summer, but according to Network Rail, they will not be operational until winter next year.
The absence of lifts has already caused problems for Gidea Park resident Hilary Wraight, who said: “I’ve had to take my mother down to Romford to get to London because she uses a wheelchair, and I regularly get the train to go to Heathrow so I have to carry my bags up and down the stairs.”
Hilary has also seen the effect a lack of access has in an emergency, saying: “I saw somebody who was injured on the platform and the ambulance people had to carry her upstairs.”
Carys Hardy, 20, who works in Station Road, said: “It’s going to be a big problem for disabled people. A year is a long time, it’s just not on really.”
Other improvements at the station before Crossrail comes in include refurbishment of the footbridge, platform extensions to accommodate the new 200m long Crossrail trains, new platform lighting and CCTV.
Those with young families are also experiencing problems. Mandeep Kaur, 33, lives in Station Road but struggles to use the station with a pushchair and two children.
She said: “London travel is so expensive but there isn’t even any assistance or an alternative way on to the platform - we’re just asking for basic functions like toilets and a lift.”
Like Hilary, Mandeep often has to walk more than a mile to Romford Station or pay for expensive taxis into the city.
She said: “Public transport is supposed to make your life easier. I would like to be able to use a station that’s only a five minute walk away instead of having to go elsewhere.”
When asked about the lifts, a spokeswoman from Network Rail said: “The main construction work at Gidea Park is substantially complete and the project is now moving into fit-out of the ticket office along with systems installation and testing, so we anticipate that it will be possible to open the ticket office and lifts in winter next year, if not before.
“It is necessary to complete all of the works, which includes some complex, but necessary IT and communications systems, before the lifts can be brought into service. As more specific dates become available, we will communicate these.”