A whole new look
A new customer seating area has been created at Euston after the entrance to the London Underground was moved as part of ongoing improvements for passengers. The Tube is now accessed at the front and centre of Euston station’s external piazza, and the outdoor access will improve passenger flow and means the Underground and Euston station can operate independently from each other. The changes around Euston station are part of a wider programme of improvements to concourse and platform access, lighting and signage, and to prepare for Britain’s new high-speed railway, HS2.
Joe Hendry, station manager at London Euston, said: “The lack of seating at Euston has long been an issue for passengers. Over recent months we’ve been working really hard to put passengers first and create more space in the station, and the new customer seating area could only be created by carefully reconfiguring the entrance to the Underground. The move outside means that during busy periods we’ll be able to better manage the flow of customers.” Joe also noted that some retail units have been removed, as well as the Travel Information Kiosk. “It did feel a bit like the Crystal Maze at times for customers, so we’ve taken away all this clutter and made it easier for people to see from the concourse, all the way down to their platforms. In the longer term, we’re looking at where we can replace our retail offering but in better locations which don’t impede access to and from Euston’s platforms.”
Making travel more accessible
In May Elstree & Borehamwood Thameslink station team members welcomed a group of older passengers with accessibility needs to help them travel with confidence on the railway.
Station manager Marc Asamoah held two events to involve customers with specialised needs when travelling, and invited members of a local community group, called ‘DR96’ along with town and borough councillor Patricia Strack.
The groups were escorted on a trip to London St Pancras, shown how to use the ticket machines, and introduced to the accessibility carriages on Thameslink services. The carriages are centrally-placed on every train making them easy to find and in central London there is level access via platform humps allowing people to board and alight unaided.
Marc said: “I am keen involve my team to help bring confidence to those who need it. The feedback I’ve received from both those groups was very positive – people said the tour was very informative, as they didn’t realise they could alight at St Pancras without a ramp.”
Station design ideas
Almost eight in ten residents responding to a consultation over plans for new stations at Darlaston and Willenhall on the Walsall to Wolverhampton line want the designs for the stations to reflect the Black Country’s industrial heritage, perhaps through artwork or architectural features. Other key findings included a call for community gardens or green spaces, as well as passenger shelters, CCTV, safety lighting and good links with local bus services.
The two new stations are part of a plan by West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) and rail industry partners including Network Rail and West Midlands Railways to bring passenger services back to Willenhall and Darlaston for the first time since 1965.
The new stations will be served by two trains per hour, one from Wolverhampton to Birmingham New Street and the other between Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Parking is proposed for approximately 150 cars at Willenhall and 300 cars at Darlaston.