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Currently TfL is undertaking repair work to the lifts at Green Park. One downside of this is TfL is advising disabled people to take a lengthy route to avoid the lift works here. The detour can amount to at least forty five minutes or more.

Fair enough! There’s a long detour invovled just because the lifts at Green Park cannot be used. The problem however is the advice they are giving out is so wrong! TfL are advising users they must change at Hammersmith instead of at Green Park to get to or from Victoria. This advice is current (with slight variations) from now until the end of January 2019.

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The District Line at Hammersmith is absolutely level with its platforms – but the Piccadilly isnt even near level. Its a big step down!

The big problem with this advice is Hammersmith isnt really a properly accessible tube station despite what TfL insist. It is ‘fully accessible’ but that is to the District Line only. There is absolutely no level interchange independently between the District and Piccadilly at Hammersmith – unless one can manage a considerable step down into the Piccadilly Line’s trains.

A convo with another tube user on Twitter brought about the realisation that TfL had been giving out erroneous advice. I warned that Hammersmith wasn’t what it was made out to be and advised that interchange should instead be made at Earl’s Court. I was also prompted to investigate the problem fully and report on it, which I have done here.

Announcements are being made on both the Jubilee and Piccadilly Lines that disabled passengers need to go to Hammersmith if they wish to get to Victoria! The announcement for Piccadilly drivers is as follows: “There is no step-free exit from this platform. For a step-free exit at Green Park, stay on this train to Hammersmith and take the District Line to Victoria. Change there for the Victoria Line to Green Park.”

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TfL’s advice is to go via Hammersmith because its ‘step-free!’

This is most outrageous. TfL are sending disabled passengers to a tube station that simply has no level access between the different tube lines!

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The huge step down between platform and Piccadilly Line train at Hammersmith.

Even more shocking is there’s a better station where the interchange can be done – yet TfL are not even mentioning it! Its Earls Court which has practically 100% level access interchange between the Piccadilly and District Lines!

In many ways its probably even better to just take the Piccadilly back the way one came to King’s Cross and then the Victoria Line from there down to Green Park, its less time than going out west and then back. However if someone is already on a westbound train its probably just wise to stay on the train to Earl’s Court and change there.

If one does not want all this hassle, according to Transport for London its clear TfL are by law obliged to book a taxi for disabled passengers if the alternative arrangements are not good enough.

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Advice from Transport for All. Source: Twitter

Out of the quintet of stations of accessible stations in this particular scenario – Green Park, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith and Victoria – Hammersmith happens to be the totally odd one out because of its limited accessibility! The following short video which I made illustrates what is wrong with the access to the Piccadilly Line at Hammersmith. Notice the huge drop:

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Even on the Piccadilly Line’s access information boards Hammersmith is absent. Very interesting!

The advice in the other direction is as follows: “There is no step-free exit from this platform. For a step-free exit at Green Park, stay on this train to King’s Cross and return to Green Park via the Victoria Line.”

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At least the advice in the other direction from Green Park is correct!

One cannot understand why TfL is touting Hammersmith as a level interchange between the District and Piccadilly Lines! If one looks at the tube map on the trains themselves Hammersmith is marked as partial access not full, whilst Earl’s Court is clearly shown as being full access. The downloadable tube maps also shows this.

However the printed tube maps and the pocket tube maps are wrong because these show Hammersmith as fully accessible. Maybe this is where the confusion occurs, someone has consulted the printed maps and said “aha, let’s advise people to change at Hammersmith, its a shorter interchange that the one at Earl’s Court.”

That is true its shorter but the point is its not even any sort of proper interchange at Hammersmith. Therefore Earl’s Court is the correct place to do the interchange.

Okay. Let’s look at these different maps and see what they are showing:

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The Piccadilly Line train maps shows Hammersmith as partial and Earl’s Court as full access. Correct!

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TfL’s standard online tube map in pdf format (November 2018) shows this information too. Correct!

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The printed standard and pocket tube maps however shows Hammersmith as FULLY accessible. WRONG!

So why not use Earl’s Court tube station instead? Why does TfL not give this advice? No ramps of any sort are needed here. This shows TfL’s advice is quite messed up because they are giving out the wrong information and making a lot of unnecessary hassle for both staff and passengers. In fact Earl’s Court is quicker! That is because one does not need to involve TfL staff or wait for the ramps to be unlocked, opened out and placed onto a waiting Piccadilly Line train.

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Absolutely level access at Earl’s Court. Why are TfL not advocating it?

If TfL were really serious about access – this includes TfL Access themselves – surely they, as the ‘experts,’ would have spotted the mistakes. They haven’t. Its shocking they are potentially sending disabled people on a needless diversion with far more hassle involved than is necessary.

The other problem with Hammersmith is one needs to use the lifts to cross from one line to the other and no matter how the lifts are used one just cannot get level access to the Piccadilly Line! I simply cannot understand why TfL does not advocate Earl’s Court instead.

The TfL step free guide advises that even to use the Piccadilly at Hammersmith a ramp is needed. Does Hammersmith station use ramps? It does however one has to let the station know in advance, this can be done by staff at Green Park or Victoria. It means one has to find staff at these stations to radio ahead to Hammersmith prior to making the journey! As several disabled people have pointed out on Twitter, the use of ramps to gain access to the Piccadilly Line at Hammersmith isn’t exactly convenient.

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The ramp for use with the Piccadilly Line trains at Hammersmith.

The question therefore is, why does TfL want disabled people to use Hammersmith? The step up from the Piccadilly is so atrocious that if in those few seconds a train stop there and no staff arrive our disabled passenger could potentially be facing a long trip to the Heathrow Airport loop (providing its not an Uxbridge Line train they are on) in order to sort out this mess and get back on their intended route.

Such misleading advice shows TfL’s house is not in order when it comes to disability access. Even TfL Access (the very experts covering disability access on the tube) also give out this erroneous information. There is simply no real justification for TfL giving out this misleading advice which touts Hammersmith as ‘step-free.’ TfL’s accessibility webpage is totally shot through with this misleading information as my screenshots show. Ironically TfL’s advice to travel via Hammersmith is in force until the end of January 2019.

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By the way I tried the lifts at Earl’s Court. I have used those down to the Piccadilly many times. For the purposes of this post it was the first time I used the lifts from the District’s platforms. These lifts are a breeze and there are absolutely no obstacles of any sort to the Piccadilly’s lifts. Its totally level from the District to the Piccadilly’s platforms. The Piccadilly’s Earl’s Court platforms have raised sections to give level access for wheelchairs etc and these correspond with those at Green Park, which means anyone getting on at Earl’s Court should be getting off in the right place at Green Park, so its still not understood why TfL advocates Hammersmith over Earl’s Court!

I made five videos altogether on Earl’s Court however in the event I deemed it was better to use photographs instead as some of the videos were very long and would have taken an hour an half or more to upload! The following pictures which I took show the system at Earl’s Court.

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One of the lifts from the District Line at Earl’s Court.

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The specially built footbridge at Earl’s Court linking the two accessible lifts to the District platforms.

Getting to or from the District Line is a breeze. There are walkways from the ticket hall and it is absolutely level from the upper levels of these lifts to those for the Piccadilly Line. It does involve a short distance but at least it is quiet and absolutely level.

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The walkway which links the two Earl’s Court entrances is also the route from the District to the Piccadilly.

At the far end of the walkway there is absolutely level access into the lifts for the Piccadilly Line. These lifts absolutely go down to platform level, there isn’t any steps at the bottom bit like at some other tube stations with lifts.

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The entrance to the Piccadilly’s lifts.

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Diagram showing the lifts at Earl’s Court tube station.

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The bottom of the lifts at Earl’s Court at right with the level section of platform for the Piccadilly Line visible ahead.

To ensure one gets off at the right spot at either Green Park or Earl’s Court one must use the raised section of platform, which is always by the second tube carriage from the Heathrow/Rayners Lane end of the train. These sections are also indicated and marked by signs which say ‘Level access boarding point here.’

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The correct boarding points for the Piccadilly Line at Earl’s Court, Green Park, and even King’s Cross.

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The eastbound (Central London) platform at Earl’s Court showing the raised section for Green Park etc.

Hopefully TfL will review their advice and correct it as well as the maps which show the wrong information in regards to access at Hammermsith.

Remember TfL promises it will book a taxi if the arrangements are not convenient or suitable for anyone. See TfL’s page.

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