Catford station commuters ‘struggling’ as lift repairs months overdue

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter 

Commuters have hit out at delays to the opening of new lifts at a South London railway station – saying they’re fed up of lugging heavy bags up the stairs.

Catford station passengers were promised the two lifts would be open by the end of October last year.

But three months later, the promised elevators are still a construction site sealed off to commuters by metal fencing.

One of the two yet to open lifts at Catford railway station (Picture: Robert Firth)

Local performer Annette Viga, 32, said it was a nightmare having to drag props up and down the stairs on her way to events.

She said: “I have to walk around with a massive suitcase when I’m on my way to performances. Having no lifts makes the trip up and down the stairs very difficult.

“I come here about once a week when I’m heading to places to perform so it’s quite a common problem. I’ve seen people with prams struggling too. It will be much better when the lifts open.”

Amanda Lewis, 25, said she rarely used the station but had struggled in the past when she’d had to get her buggy up and down the stairs.

Catford Station (Picture: Robert Firth)

Ms Lewis, who was heading to her first pilates class of the year, said: “When I used to bring my buggy here I had to struggle down the stairs. I know how difficult it is.

“I think they should sort it out as soon as possible. It will be good for parents and older people once there are lifts.”

Dominica Winter, 45, said her sister couldn’t wait for the lifts to be installed as she had to regularly struggle down the stairs with her kid’s buggy.

She said: “I know my sister has been waiting for them to open.

“She has to carry her buggy down the stairs and she finds it difficult. My parents live nearby in Forest Hill so she comes off at his station quite regularly and then takes a short walk to them.”

The £3.7 million project will give commuters step-free access to both platforms once the lifts at Catford Station finally open. Network Rail is building the two lifts and a walkway connecting them with money from the Department of Transport.

Catford was one of 73 stations across the country chosen to receive a chunk of the £30 million government funding to improve access.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are aiming to complete the work by spring 2023 where the lifts will be open and ready for passengers to use.

“The overall project is still ongoing and we’re currently waiting for the delivery of the final lift component which was slightly delayed to the festive period and Covid.”

Pictured top: Commuter Amanda Lewis outside the yet to open lifts at Catford Station (Picture: Robert Firth)

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