TfL has announced improvements to two stations ahead of the Elizabeth line opening in 2022.
The revamps include a new building for Southall, with three lifts and a footbridge. It also has new information screens and ticket machines. Work is planned to refurbish the toilets and make the waiting room accessible for customers. The new forecourt has wider doors to ease congestion.
Southall station, which originally opened in 1839 is currently served by TfL Rail and GWR train services. To accommodate Elizabeth line trains, which are more than 200 metres long, the platforms have been extended.
Signage at the station is in English and Punjabi, due to the large Punjabi community in the area, making Southall one of the few stations in England with bilingual signage.
Whitechapel, meanwhile, has seen its 1876 Victorian façade cleaned and repaired with a spacious entrance, lifts, and a new concourse built above London Underground, London Overground and future Elizabeth line services.
At Whitechapel, the London Underground passes above the London Overground, so building above both operational railways and the Victorian infrastructure was a challenge for Crossrail and its main contractor BBMV (the Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall, Vinci Construction joint venture), while also constructing the Elizabeth line below. Thousands of hours were needed to undertake the works, including overnight when services were not in operation and during some essential closures of the network.
Glass above the concourse allows daylight into the station and the London Overground platforms. It is designed to provide a calm, open atmosphere in a similar manner to the new Paddington Elizabeth line station. The concourse has a green roof with sedum plants growing on top, providing several environmental benefits including improvements to air quality, water absorption and drainage, noise reduction as well as improving conservation and biodiversity.
Andy Lord, London Underground managing director, said about Whitechapel: “This really is a stunning station and incorporates a renovated Victorian entrance and a green roof to boost biodiversity. I hope the local community will be as impressed with the station as I am.
“With step-free access to the London Underground and London Overground platforms now available, there are real benefits for customers, particularly those heading to The Royal London Hospital directly across the road.
“London Underground staff have already been getting acquainted with the facilities at the modern station, and as always are happy to help customers returning to the station or using it for the first time. I know when the Elizabeth line opens next year it will provide another vital addition to the local community.”
Elizabeth line director at Network Rail, Tim Ball, said about Southall: “As passengers return to the railway, it is great news that yet another station has been significantly upgraded.
“Our completion of the stunning new ticket hall and addition of step-free access at Southall follows hot on the heels of our similar transformations of Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and West Drayton which opened to passengers earlier this year.
“Southall is now ready for the Elizabeth line and its new facilities will improve passenger journeys for generations to come.”