Step-free access at Harold Wood station will be 'life-changing' for family
PUBLISHED: 16:32 19 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:45 19 February 2015
New lifts due to be installed at a train station will be "life-changing" for one family.
Work to introduce step-free access at Harold Wood station in time for the arrival of Crossrail has been welcomed by Mick Hall, 61, who is a full-time carer for his son, a wheelchair user.
Harold Hill resident Mick and his wife Pat, a blue badge holder, say the three new lifts being installed by Network Rail will “make life so much easier” for their son 45-year-old Jason Sherriff, who has cerebral palsy.
Mick said: “He loves going into London, he loves travelling, but at the moment, if we want to go up to London we have to go through Romford on a bus and it can be really hard.
“At Romford there’s a big ramp we have to push him up, which is quite difficult, and once you’re through the door we’ve got to go up all the way to the platform.
“The new lifts will certainly open more doors for us. It would make a big difference to our lives.”
Apart from the three new lifts to provide access to all station platforms, work has started on a replacement footbridge over the tracks and new staircases to platform level.
Network Rail is also working on platform extensions to accommodate the 200 metre long Crossrail trains, which are due to roll out in 2019.
Lianna Etkind, of campaign group Transport for All, said: “This isn’t just about access to the station, it’s about access to public life and being visible in the streets, in shopping centres, in so many parts of life. It means independence and inclusion.”
Environment cabinet member Cllr Robert Benham said: “These works mark the first step to exciting improvements at Harold Wood station and the arrival of Crossrail in the borough.
“We are really pleased that work is starting on the Crossrail project and have been working with Crossrail to make sure that the work causes minimum disruption.”
The work is expected to take about 18 months to complete, with the new lifts due to be installed in 2016.
Crossrail surface director Matthew White said: “Crossrail will provide a step change in public transport for people in Harold Wood – new trains, quicker journeys and a more reliable service.”