West Drayton station has been transformed for customers ahead of the Elizabeth line opening next year, with a revamped ticket hall featuring a striking new glass and steel extension, opening on Tuesday, alongside two new lifts enabling step-free access to the main platforms serving Transport for London (TfL) Rail and Great Western Railway.
An additional lift at the station entrance connecting the low-level subway with the new concourse has also been brought into use. These station lifts will be complemented by a new lift at Platform 1, now making four of the station’s five platforms step-free for current timetabled operations and fully step-free by the end of the year. The station is staffed at all times while trains are running with ramps available for those that need them to board trains, and all London Underground and TfL Rail stations operate a turn-up-and-go service for customers needing assistance.
West Drayton station originally opened in 1838. It is served by TfL Rail services between Paddington and Reading, stopping services run by Great Western Railway, and two trains per hour to Didcot Parkway. The station has undergone a significant transformation in recent years following completion of the main ticket hall carried out by TfL in 2019. Network Rail has since enhanced the station improvements with an extension to the ticket hall, vastly increasing space for customers as well as providing an additional entrance. A glass frontage makes the entrance brighter, with a new ticket gateline replacing the narrow, cramped staircases previously used to enter and leave the platforms.
The extended platforms are capable of accommodating the longer Elizabeth line trains, which are more than 200 metres in length. The station also benefits from improved lighting, signage and customer information screens, as well as canopies on the platforms, providing a better customer experience.
Work around the station to improve the local environment and public realm is being carried out by the London Borough of Hillingdon and is expected to complete early next year, delivering improvements to roads, pavements and pedestrian areas to complement the station works.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Passengers at West Drayton station will now notice major improvements, including a more spacious entrance, new information screens and crucially, step-free access to platforms. These upgrades will benefit passengers immediately and are part of readying the stations for services to start on the Elizabeth line next year.”
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “The improvements at West Drayton station will make a huge difference to passengers, with step-free access, a revamped ticket hall and increased space enabling better journeys for all. As we get ready for Elizabeth line services to start next year, it’s exciting to see changes being made at so many stations that will benefit customers for years to come.”
Howard Smith, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for the Elizabeth line, said: “Customers using West Drayton station will notice quite a transformation in preparation for the Elizabeth line. Not only is there a new, lighter and brighter entrance making the station feel more welcoming, but the installation of lifts in this Victorian-era station vastly improve the accessibility and make journeys significantly easier for many.”
Tim Ball, Elizabeth line director at Network Rail, said: “With new station facilities and step-free access already opened at Acton Main Line, West Ealing and Ealing Broadway this year it is great news for passengers that West Drayton has now been transformed too. We were determined, along with our industry colleagues, to give passengers the benefit of step-free access as early as possible. The new extension merges modern architecture with the original station building’s long and rich railway history. It is a true transformation that will improve passenger journeys for generations to come.”
Lawrence Jackson, Managing Director, HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have worked with the Network Rail team on West Drayton project to deliver to TfL a more modern and welcoming station providing step free access to its customers for the first time in the station’s history.”
Works at Southall and Hayes & Harlington stations are also continuing and are due to complete later this year, all with bright new, expanded ticket halls opening, which will provide more space for customers, as well as lifts providing further stations with step-free access.
The Elizabeth line is due to open in the first half of 2022. When the railway opens, customers travelling between Reading, Heathrow and central London will still initially have to change at Paddington National Rail station to use Elizabeth line services from the new station located adjacent to Platform 1.
When the Elizabeth line fully opens, services will operate through to Abbey Wood and Shenfield without the need to change between Paddington stations.
Photo credit: Transport for London