The Ramp Experiment

  • 21/6/14
  • Richmond-Upminster- Return

The Problem
London Underground assert that it’s not possible to have more stations on the District line accessible to wheelchairs. There are a number of reasons they claim but essentially it boils down to 1) the platforms aren’t wide enough to use a ramp and 2) the step onto the train is too high, making the ramp too steep to use safely.

Hypothesis
By re-designating ‘the wheelchair space’ from the end to the middle of the train the platforms are wide enough to use ramps at the step free to platform stations currently without ramps.

Apparatus

  • 1 Wheelchair – with Pilot
  • 1 Portable Ramp
  • 1 Camera Phone
  • 1 Underground Train
  • 1 District line

Method
Insert the wheelchair with pilot into the middle of the train using the ramp.

Allow the train to progress along the District line from Richmond to its terminus at Upminster. Each time the train stops at a station photograph the platform, paying particular attention to platform width, step height and any obstacles.

Repeat the observations as the train returns to Richmond

Results
The photographs show that the platforms are wide enough at each station to allow use of ramps.

The photographs do not show step heights. These must be gathered from other sources.

Conclusion
With a small amount of planning and effort the additional stations on the District line could become wheelchair accessible. This is contrary to London Undergrounds assessment and stated position since the situation was last examined before the Olympics.

 

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About Alan

I'm an Economist, Geek, Campaigner & wheelchair user who's been using all forms of public transport for 20+ years.
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