Berkhamsted station is step-free

At long last the lifts at Berkhamsted station are working. It is a step free station..

Entrance to a lift at Berkhamsted station

Entrance to a lift at Berkhamsted station

The lifts were opened to the public on Friday 13 March.

It has been an awfully long wait. They started the building work in early 2014 and it was finished by January 2015. People had been seen going up and down in the station lift but they could not be used by the public.

All the construction equipment, portable cabins etc. had been removed from the station but the lifts were not working. Meanwhile still no disability access. Finally they have been commissioned.

Great news

This must be fantastic news for all sorts of people. Think of people with buggies, people with heavy luggage or people who have injured a leg. None of these people will be seen struggling up and down the steps at the station. This really is a huge asset to the town’s infra-structure.

I use the lifts for the first time

On Saturday 14th March a group of us went up to London and I casually asked the kind lady who was selling the train tickets if the lifts were working; I always ask the question. She said they had been in use since Friday, the day before. The impact on my life is going to be phenomenal. I will never have to ask someone to carry my mobility scooter down the stairs at the station

So often there are no station staff available to help me. I don’t mind asking and people are perfectly happy to help.

Berkhamsted station, the steps to the platform

Berkhamsted station, the steps to the platform

Asking for help

OK you have to identify the right sort of person. A businessman in a suit will sometimes look askance, deliberately avoid my gaze. Elderly people are not a good idea either. On one or two occasions people  have struggled to lift the mobility scooter up and get it down the flight of steps. It weighs 18 Kg.

Asking for help on the first few occasions was a bit scary. I was frightened they would say ‘No’ and I would be stranded on the station platform. It never happened.

This is a huge step forward for accessibility. The the train station at Berkhamsted is now step free. I no longer have to ask someone to carry my mobility scooter down the stairs to leave the station.

Berkhamsted station, sign to the lifts

Berkhamsted station, sign to the lifts

London Midland are installing lifts at all the stations where their trains stop, I think this is an excellent contribution to making train stations more accessible.

Adding lifts

Installing lifts long after the station has been built is an expensive business. People now realize how important they are. The cost of installing lifts for the London Underground must be mind boggling. Slowly, slowly stations in Central London are also getting lifts. At the moment there are only a handful.

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