I set up a working group between Network Rail, FGW (First Great Western), TfL (Transport for London), Ealing Council officers, SEC (Save Ealing Centre) members and other local transport groups. We regularly meet to discuss the new Crossrail station and what can be done to improve the current station while we wait.
After the Crossrail upgrade the new station will have a new ticket hall, lifts, escalators and a better space for commuters to move through. We also need to ensure buses taking people to and from the station are better organised and if we cannot fund a £50 million bus station, more buses need to terminate elsewhere after stopping at the station to ensure Haven Green does not become even further clogged up.
The works won’t start until 2013. We cannot wait that long for vital improvements. The ticket hall is too small and dangerously overcrowded at times and there is no access to the platforms for disabled people or people with heavy loads. It is frankly a disgrace. That is why I brought Mayor Boris Johnson to the station to show him how bad things are.
Our working group is trying to find solutions to the problems in the interim. FGW is examining the possibly of installing bells at the top and bottom of the stairs so help can be summoned. We are also concentrating on looking at ways of reopening the old district line entrance to take pressure off the ticket hall. More secure cycle parking is also on the agenda.
Ealing Broadway Station is a mess. Crossrail offers us a chance for a new start, but we can’t wait for it. I’m trying to get some important changes far sooner."
As someone who uses Ealing Broadway station almost every day I know the issues that commuters face and how it can be improved. I would use my experience in dealing with transport issues and position as our local MP to work with TfL, Network Rail and Crossrail in order to deliver a station we can be proud of.
Entrance: The station entrance needs to be wider or the old second entrance/exit needs to be re-opened. There should be a mini-lift at the main entrance to allow full accessibility. The ticket hall size and number of turnstiles need to be increased. Screens indicating departure times and destinations across all platforms and lines alongside live bus information is also needed.
Interchange: A suitable transport interchange, at a reasonable cost, should be sought and funded through S106 money from developments in Ealing and with a contribution from TfL (this is realistic considering an interchange was to be paid for as part of the last Arcadia proposals and if Boris cares about Ealing then he should put some money here rather than removing transport investment in Ealing whilst spending elsewhere). This should be alongside a kiss and ride facility for private vehicles.
Access to and between platforms: With a bit of tweaking at the District Line end it would be possible to have two lifts to platform level on top of new escalators. There should also be a foot bridge at the bottom end of the platforms to allow easier interchange between platforms, such as in Hammersmith & Edgware Road stations.
Crossrail will be a huge benefit to the town, bringing the heart of Central London much closer to the Queen of the Suburbs. But the rebuilding of Ealing Broadway station for Crossrail represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring joined-up thinking to transport.
We need a transport interchange at Ealing Broadway combining tubes, trains, Crossrail, buses, taxis and pick-up and drop-off from private cars in one place.
It is a scandal that Ealing Broadway has no disabled access and this must also be resolved.
We need to give visitors and residents alike a much better introduction to Ealing than the current tired station, buses spread around Haven Green spewing out their diesel fumes and camera-generated tickets from the Council for anyone who dares to drop a relative off!
Most aspects of Ealing’s transport jigsaw are run at London level, and I have already repeatedly met with Caroline Pidgeon, the Chair of the London Assembley’s Transport Committee, to push the case for a proper transport interchange at Ealing Broadway.
Ealing Council has a key responsibility to drive this process forwards and is now waking up to the importance of that role. As MP I will have much more influence to get things moving and to bring all the key players together.
If we don’t act quickly enough, the station will be rebuilt for Crossrail, but the situation with buses, taxis and cars will remain as it is now. We will have missed this opportunity to make Ealing Broadway station the transport hub that Ealing deserves.