Crossrail 2 is a new rail line, planned to open in the 2030s. It would run through London, linking Hertfordshire to the North with Surry to the South. Currently in the consultation phase, the plan is for tunnelling to begin in the 2020s, and eventually to ease overcrowding and pressure on existing transport networks.
Speaking at a meeting last year, Michele Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, assured the audience that Crossrail 2 will be fully step free from day one; and Crossrail 2 websites and leaflets have confirmed this.
Crossrail 1 was initially planned with seven stations that would be out of bounds to older and disabled people. Transport for All members campaigned vociferously for the whole Crossrail network to be accessible, and we were proud when TfL and DfT confirmed that the whole line would be step-free. We hope that Crossrail 1 has now set a precedent, and no new rail lines will ever be planned without stepfree access at every station!
Nothing About Us Without Us
However, stepfree access is just one aspect of accessibility. We contacted Crossrail 2 and emphasised the importance of accessible toilet provision at Crossrail2 stations and on trains. Crossrail 1 only fitted passive toilet provision onto trains (i.e. so toilets could potentially be fitted at a later date). Given the long distances involved, this was disappointing. Embarrassment means that few people mention the distress that inadequate toilet provision causes them. But the ‘bladder leash’ effect, which restricts many older and disabled people from venturing very far from where they know there are accessible toilets, severely limits the freedom of many.
Furthermore, we urged them to ensure that older and disabled people are involved throughout the planning process, on signage to train design to stations. Nothing about us without us!