Southall station has undergone a makeover, following the installation of three new lifts and a new footbridge, offering step-free access to all four platforms at the station.
Passengers will be able to enjoy an ample and more spacious station entrance, alongside a new, modern ticket hall built from glass and steel, including a wider gateline for tickets and contactless payments.
There is staff available around the clock, with ramps on hand for people who need extra support boarding trains, and all TfL Rail stations operate a turn-up-and-go service for customers needing assistance.
Customers will also benefit from new information screens, and ticket machines have been installed.
Work will take place to refurbish the station’s toilets and make the waiting room accessible for all passengers.
A new forecourt has also been constructed, on top of wider doors set to reduce congestion at the entrance.
Meanwhile, Network Rail has extended the platforms to cater to the new Elizabeth line trains, which are more than 200 metres long.
Due to the large Punjabi community in the area, revitalized signage maintaining the bilingual information was installed so that the station is inclusive for all, acting as one of a handful of stations in the UK to provide bilingual signage.
Karamjit Singh, Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall (SGSS) representative, said “we as a community are looking forward to using the new upgraded and modern station.”
He added, “it will benefit many who already live around the area and others in having accessibility to platforms, especially for our elderly. The heart of Southall is its people, and we are pleased to see our Punjabi language as a signature focal point."
The Southall Opportunity Area has been adopted in the area’s Local Plan to deliver an indicative 9,000 homes and 3,000 jobs, with delivery quickened by the Elizabeth line.
The area around the Elizabeth line station, Southall Gateway, will incorporate the existing neighbourhoods and streets with the new residential-led developments at East Southall and West Southall, on top of the revitalized Havelock Estate.
Connected Living London (CLL), a partnership between the developer, Grainger plc and Transport for London (TfL), has accepted approval from Ealing Council to deliver 460 homes on former railway sidings and storage land – used as part of the Crossrail project – including 40% affordable housing.
The development will integrate renewable forms of energy, alongside providing additional spaces for people to work, relax and socialise, with the homes built in a range of sizes specifically designed for renters.
The surrounding area will have more space for walking, new street lighting and greenery, making the area safer and designed to transform the site into an active community with easy access to Southall Park.
"Inaccessible infrastructure locks so many people out of the network."
Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and West Drayton stations not long ago reopened to the public after similar station upgrades were completed.
Network Rail is in the process of finalising improvements at Hayes & Harlington station, with a big ticket hall and new lifts due to open later this year. This will provide step-free access for local people and others changing trains to and from Heathrow.
Additionally, all Elizabeth line stations from London Paddington to Heathrow and Reading will have lifts.
Katie Pennick, Campaigns Lead, Transport for All, said “we are delighted to see step free access instated at Southall station for the very first time, enabling more disabled people to make journeys with confidence and ease.”
She continued, “inaccessible infrastructure locks so many people out of the network, so we are thrilled to see the Elizabeth line continue to transform stations and contribute to a more accessible transport system."
Whitechapel station has just reopened its ticket hall with step-free access available by new lifts to the London Underground and London Overground, benefitting customers ahead of the Elizabeth line opening.
Additionally, Wimbledon Park Tube station has also had a new lift installed, once again offering the option of step-free journeys.
Elizabeth line Director at Network Rail, Tim Ball, said “as passengers return to the railway it is great news that, yet another station has been significantly upgraded.”
The Director added, “our completion of the stunning new ticket hall and addition of step-free access at Southall follows hot on the heels of our similar transformations of Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and West Drayton which opened to passengers earlier this year.”
He continued, "Southall is now ready for the Elizabeth line and its new facilities will improve passenger journeys for generations to come.”
Once the Elizabeth line opens in the first half of 2022, it will operate as three separate railways, with London set to fund the majority of the cost of the new railway.
Work continues at Osterley, Sudbury Hill and Harrow-on-the-Hill to deliver step-free access by the end of the year.