Rail: Access for All

Public Transport Representative

14 Jun 2022

Installation of Lifts at Petts Wood Station

1. Access For All Scheme
This scheme began in 2006 and is funded by the Department of Transport (not Network Rail)
to provide access at many railway stations for people in wheelchairs, and other mobility constraints. It is intended to provide step free access to station platforms but not necessarily step free access to trains.
Petts Wood was added to the scheme on 29/04/2014 with the intention of being completed by 31/03/2019. This did not happen, and the scheme has been carried over, to be completed by 31/03/2024. The scheme was approved by the Bromley Council Planners on 3/11/2021.

2. Scope
The project at Petts Wood will consist of 4 lifts; one each side of the railway to gain step free access to the existing footbridge and two lifts on the north side of the station footbridge to give access to each of the island platforms. The cost is estimated at £10.78 million.
Network Rail will manage the project on behalf of the Department of Transport and the lead contractor is BAM Nuttall Ltd.

3. Timescale and Construction
Work started on 12/6/2022 and is expected to be completed by late August/early September 2023 according to a contractor’s spokesman. Notices at the station suggest a later completion date of November.

Temporary stairs have now been installed at the Station Square entrance.

A schedule of likely station footbridge closures is shown below.

Station Footbridge Closure Dates (UPDATED INFORMATION 14/6/2022)
6 November 2022
Installation of Station Lifts and Stairs - Trains operating normally *

20/21 November 2022
Lifting Operations, No information yet about train services

24 -27 December 2022
Lifting Operations, Removal of stairs to West Approach and station building
There will be a 4-day station closure over the Christmas period, but trains don’t run on 25/26 December anyway. Replacement buses operate 24 and 27 December *

18 – 20 February 2023
Lifting Operations. No information yet about train services
* To be confirmed

Construction work will be undertaken throughout and arranged to avoid disruption to pedestrians and rail passengers as much as possible. Most of the work will be undertaken during the working day from 07:30 until 18:00. This includes piling for the foundations supporting the lift towers. This, apparently, can be carried out safely, while trains are running, because the equipment will be installed behind little coffer dams, so that construction work can continue unhindered. We were told that the noise of the piling work is equivalent to a car engine running.

West Approach will be closed whenever lifting operations are in progress and on some occasions part of Station Square will be closed as well. Recycle bins by the line in West Approach have been removed during the work and may need to be relocated afterwards, to enable clear access to the lift on that side of the station. Three parking bays in the station car park are out of use during the project which will be those nearest the station buildings.
Most of the “heavy” work will be completed by 20/2/2023.

4. Operation
Train operator Southeastern manages Petts Wood station and will be responsible for the lifts once commissioned. Digital cameras will be installed to oversee the facilities.
Although the scheme provides step free access to the platforms, ramps are still needed to board and alight from trains, which wheelchair passengers need to arrange in advance, so that station staff can assist. This does provide a safeguard in the event of a lift breakdown as staff will be in attendance and can summon further assistance.

In the event of a lift failure Southeastern have lift engineers on call-out and a typical response time is 1 – 1½ hours. This may cause problems for people with mobility constraints.
There are indications that all the lifts will be available all the time, as the footbridge never closes normally. The overnight period, when trains do not call at the station is only 3 - 5½ hours, and as the station is currently unmanned at the beginning and end of each day, the platform lifts are likely to be kept open all the time as well.

This article will continue to be updated as new information becomes available
(Version 3 posted 8/8/22)