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“Please help me persuade Southeastern to put a lift in at Erith Station” – Teresa Pearce


Teresa Pearce

there is no access to the London bound platform other than by a staircase and bridge. This makes the station inaccessible for people with buggies and wheelchairs. This also makes less people use the station and may be a reason for increased crime there. So we need a lift to increase the accessiblilty.

Problem History

  • 1 Teresa Pearce reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 10:04 30 Aug 2011
  • 2 Teresa Pearce wrote to Southeastern close 10:04 30 Aug 2011

    Here is the letter that Teresa Pearce wrote.

    no step free access

    there is no lift at this station and no step free access. Therefore disabled people are wanting to go to London are expected to travel the opposite way get off at Dartford , use lift to go to London bound platform then continiue their journey. This wrong and is an equality issue.

  • 3 Maynard Frances responded to Teresa Pearce close 10:10 30 Aug 2011
    I am out of the office on annual leave until 6 September. Please contact another member of the customer relations team if your enquiry is urgent. Otherwise I will reply to your email upon my return.

    Southeastern is the trading name of London & South Eastern Railway Limited. London & South Eastern Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Govia Limited of which The Go-Ahead Group plc is a shareholder.

    London & South Eastern Railway Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 04860660, The Go-Ahead Group plc is registered in England and Wales with company number 2100855 and Govia Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 3278419. The registered office for each of the aforementioned companies is situated at 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 6EE.

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  • 4 Paul O'Neill commented close 14:03 30 Aug 2011

    You use a wheelchair, or maybe you have a condition that means you can't use stairs, or maybe you're elderly and frail and the thought of crossing a footbridge is just too much. And if you want to do the relatively simple thing of getting a train from Erith station into London, you have to catch a train travelling in the opposite direction. Come on Network Rail, come on Southeastern Trains. . . . . come on Boris, bring this nonsense to an end and get a lift sorted out at Erith station.

  • 5 Hugh Neal commented close 18:00 30 Aug 2011

    I have added a posting to the Erith Watch website, inviting members to support the campaign for a lift at Erith Station - you can read more here:

  • 6 Brian Silk commented close 21:07 31 Aug 2011

    This is a important issue for those who cannot use the footbridge. They are effectively prevented from catching a London-bound train at Erith or alighting from Slade Green and beyond.

  • 7 Julia Bellamy commented close 09:48 01 Sep 2011

    Perhaps Southeastern would like to send someone to try accessing a London bound train with a bag, buggy, baby and lively three year old. You'll only try it once.

  • 8 [email address] responded to Teresa Pearce close 12:18 14 Sep 2011
    Please do not reply to this email. We are unable to respond to
    emails we receive at this address. If you’d like to email us
    another question or comment please use our email contact

    Thank you

    Southeastern Customer Relations

    PO Box 63428, London, SE1P 5FD

    Tel: 0845 000 2222

    Ms Teresa Pearce

    [put a lift in at Erith Station email]

    Ref: 501516 / 260148

    14 September 2011

    Dear Ms Pearce

    Thank you for your comment which we received on 6 September.

    I am sorry that you are concerned about the lack of disabled
    access at Erith station. As you may know, there is step free
    access to Platform 2 only. The ticket Office is step free.

    I do accept that some of the existing rail infrastructure and
    station facilities do not make rail travel easy for wheelchair
    users. We are working with Network Rail to develop a long term
    strategy for station improvements. Essentially, the
    responsibility for making stations usable for wheelchair users
    is shared jointly between Train Operating Companies and Network
    Rail. The main problem we have is that most stations were
    designed and built well before the needs of wheelchair users
    were considered, and this means some stations would need
    considerable rebuilding to make them comply with the relevant

    However, practicalities aside, I can reassure you that
    Southeastern is looking at this area with great interest. At
    this time we are working with Network Rail, which has
    responsibility for the infrastructure, the Department for
    Transport, and local authorities to increase the number of our
    stations that are step free. Unfortunately there are no plans to
    extend this to Erith at this time, but I will log your comments
    for the attention of our Accessibility and Inclusions Manager
    for his consideration.

    Under certain circumstances such as reduced accessibility or
    operating difficulties, we will provide alternative means of
    transport to enable disabled passengers to complete their
    journey. This can be done in advance by completing the online
    assisted travel booking form within the assisted travel page on
    our website. Alternative please contact our free phone assisted
    travel number 0800 783 4524 which is operated 24 hours a day, 7
    days a week. We ideally require 24 hours notice for any assisted
    travel bookings. We realise that it may not always be convenient
    to provide this notice, however this is necessary to enable us
    to arrange the necessary assistance.

    Whilst I am sorry that I cannot give you a positive answer
    regarding Erith station I hope you will find the above
    information useful.

    Yours sincerely

    Charles Higham

    Customer Relations Officer


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  • 9 Teresa Pearce commented close 12:26 14 Sep 2011

    Southeastern have responded and have no plans to a lift at Erith. I know that ! Thats why we are campaigning for one. Why does Bexleyheath merit a lift? Its because more people use it. Why do more people use it? Because its accessible.

    I also know that if a disabled person needs to go to london from Erith Southeastern will offer a free taxi to an accessible station. BUT you have to give 24 hours notice so you cant just decide on the day to go to london. Also will they offer a daily taxi for someone who commutes to work every day?

  • 10 Myf Nixon advised Teresa to write to James Cleverly. close 14:27 14 Sep 2011

    It does say they'll provide alternative forms of transport for you, but I can see that may not be as desirable as simply being able to access the train, especially as you have to book in advance.

    So if you want to take the issue further, I'm going to suggest that you contact your London Assembly member and your local press - perhaps one at a time so you can see if the Assembly member might help before you take it to the papers? Up to you.

    Anyway, I've drafted an email for you which you can use if you wish - or you can overwrite/edit it. James Cleverly's remit includes transport for your area.

    Good luck!

  • 11 Myf Nixon advised Teresa to write to Kelly Smale, News Shopper. close 14:34 14 Sep 2011

    You can contact the Erith and Thamesmead Chronicle here - - they've only got a webform I'm afraid. same with the Bexley Times:

    There's also the News Shopper, which is where I've set this email up to go to.

  • 12 Myf Nixon commented close 14:39 14 Sep 2011

    I've just spotted that you're an MP, Teresa, so please ignore my advice if it's slightly inappropriate / over-obvious!

  • 13 Hugh Neal commented close 18:06 15 Sep 2011

    Teresa makes a good point; Southeastern are contravening the Disability Rights Act too. Perhaps if we could get get a tabloid paper like the Mirror or the Sun involved, it might embarrass the company to the point that they might change their minds? Just a thought.

  • 14 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 19:37 15 Sep 2011


    South Eastern are probably not contravening the disability rights act as the following are allowed for overcoming physical access:
    1. Remove the feature; or
    2. Alter it so it is no longer a barrier; or
    3. Provide a reasonable means of avoiding it; or
    4. Provide a reasonable alternative method of making the services available.
    It is all down to what is 'reasonable' and I would imagine that providing a taxi would be considered reasonable, especially as many stations on the rail system have the same issue, although progress is being made. My local station now has a ramp onto one of the platforms, but for the other direction you have to catch a train in the opposite direction for one stop to a station with a lift.

    However, that is not to say that this isn't a very worthy cause, and of course as Teresa mentions people with buggies have a problem.

    I guess a tabloid may feel like embarrassing Southeastern for the thrill of the moment, but I don't suppose it would lead to anything further. I am sure a local campaign driven by the MP would be best.

    It would useful to know if there is any kind of rail network wide survey which has been done to identify stations which are most in need of a lift giving regard to things like how reasonable the alternative is, and how many passengers are affected so future investment can be directed to the right places.

  • 15 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 19:46 15 Sep 2011

    Just for information on a related subject, National Rail provide useful station plans for the whole network (e.g. here for Erith ) which show exactly which parts of the station can be accessed step free so it is possible to at least see what would be possible at unfamiliar stations (e.g. for changing trains). There is general accessibility information here . I realise information like this does not actually solve the problem of access.

  • 16 Hugh Neal commented close 21:35 15 Sep 2011

    Hi Paul - thanks for your comments; Southeastern ARE contravening the DRA, as they are forcing disabled people to act in a different way to able bodied people. The use of a taxi to take a disabled person to a station with a lift is still a contravention (believe me, I do know what I am talking about - I am a corporate member of Employers for Carers and the Chair of the Carers Network, and we have sound legal opinion on the matter from three QC's). The fact that a disabled person is treated differently is key under the DRA legislation - I know the people who drafted the legislation!

  • 17 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 22:17 15 Sep 2011

    Hugh, Thanks for the information. If that is the case then it would seem that the rail industry has a nationwide problem. Would Erith make a suitable test case?

  • 18 Hugh Neal commented close 17:53 16 Sep 2011

    Hi again Paul,

    I raised the matter of lifts at Erith, Plumstead and Chatham stations with the then Minister for Disability, Jonathan Shaw MP back in 2009. He looked into it, but was thwarted - the contracts the rail companies sign up to are so tortuous and packed with get out clauses that he could not see a way to effectively enforce the legislation. I have also raised it with Caroline Waters OBE, Chair of Employers for Carers. From the guarded responses, I get the feeling that the rail companies are thought of as being too big, powerful and rich to launch a successful test case on. The associated legal costs would be huge, and the rail companies would have the ability to spin out the case to the point where the complainant would run out of money. This is why I suggested getting a tabloid to take up the issue and embarrass Southeastern. It might get a better result and not involve an expensive and drawn out test case.

  • 19 Transport for All commented close 17:13 19 Sep 2011

    Transport for All are the organisation representing older and disabled transport users - we think that its disgraceful that disabled people should be barred from using stations! We've supported campaigns elsewhere for lift installation: here's a picture of us at Crystal Palace!

    Why not organise a demo by the station, bringing together older people, parents with buggies, disabled people, cyclists and all those who want stepfree access at Erith? Bet the local paper would support you.

    Feel free to get in touch for support and advice (we're free to join!) contactus at

  • 20 Myf Nixon commented close 17:21 19 Sep 2011

    Great to see your comment, Transport For All!

    I hope lots of people will come and find out more about what you're all about as a result of your presence on this site - your aims align so well with many of our users' that you will be of real benefit.

  • 21 Myf Nixon commented close 10:07 20 Sep 2011

    I just happened to come across this - EU legislation on rights for all rail passengers:

    Non-discrimination of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility

    This Regulation gives disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility the following rights:

    * disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to non-discriminatory access to transport at no additional charge when buying a ticket or making a reservation;
    * upon request, disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility shall be provided with information concerning the accessibility of rail services and trains;
    * rail undertakings and station managers shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that trains and other rail services are accessible;
    * rail undertakings and station managers shall make all reasonable efforts to provide assistance free of charge on board trains and at staffed stations; to guarantee assistance under good conditions, passengers are requested to comply with certain provisions (e.g. 48 hours’ notice before departure);
    * disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to compensation if the rail undertaking is responsible for the loss or damage of mobility equipment.

  • 22 Teresa Pearce commented close 18:45 11 Oct 2011

  • 23 Teresa Pearce added an update close 18:47 11 Oct 2011

    lots of ticket offices under threat

  • 24 Derek Laver commented close 21:41 23 Oct 2011

    If they won't put a lift in, why don't they dig a tunnel while they are digging up the platforms. Probably cheeper.

  • 25 Dave H commented close 22:22 16 Jan 2012

    There is a limited budget available to Network Rail to deliver a rolling programme of access enhancements, and they have to prioritise these. Ofthen a pragmatic decision may be that for a particular station because of a combination of the high costs in delivering a solution, and possibly low number of people requiring access to or from a particular platform, it is simply cheaper to pay for a taxi to get them to or from the next accessible station.

    Modern communication systems should really kick this 24 (or even 48) hour notice detail in to touch. Smart rail operators, and their passengers elsewhere are using the likes of twitter to make and confirm arrangements at very short notice, and if if fixes the problem, until such time as money or the opportunity with other work, to deliver a solution presents itself, then get the alternative solution working.

    If the number of people requiring taxis proves a demand two things happen. the cost of providing taxis will make the train operator press Network Rail to prioritise an access improvement, and the number of taxis being ordered, or the special arrangements being made, will clock up the score.

    A further accessory to the armoury is Section 106, and related detail - basically where the Council take the role of the "Knights who say Ni" (per Monty Python & the Holy Grail) and demand some benfeit from the developer who wants to build something nearby, but in place of a shrubbery you ask for an access ramp or other way to get to the platform, or a contribution to this, by way of planning gain (a sort of legalised bribe) - perhaps to link with the increased use of the station that will arise from building X new dwellings nearby.

    I am a bit frustrated by a housing development at Watton near Stevenage, where the material cleared from the site and excavated for foundations and roads is sitting in huge pile - several hundred tons of it, and on the opposite side of the railway bridge, a large volume of spoil would make a good start - if not the complete amount needed to build a ramp down within the railway boundary, to provide access to the Down Platform. A housing development on the other side did this some years earlier for the Up side, and built a small car park as well. If the material has to move from the site it will cost the developer a substantial sum to take it away in trucks down the narrow lanes leading to the main road and places to tip it. Thus several benefits could be won from simply moving the pile across the road and building a ramp, if only the parties could have been put together early enough to plan this.

    If the prospect of getting direct funding for a project at Erith has to gain a place in the queue, take a look at how it might be tackled another way - don't sink the battleship - drain the sea instead.

  • 26 Alan Boakes commented close 13:24 17 Jan 2012

    I wonder how many people, who would normally use Erith, have got into the habit of using another station with Access, perhaps getting friends to drop them off, getting their own cab, getting the bus etc.
    If they don't turn up at the station and insist on a cab then they don't count towards 'the need'.
    Is it worth trying to raise awareness in local papers that to get change supported these potential users need to go to the station and ask for cab each time they travel. I know it's a pain but if there is a need then ticks in boxes count.
    Alan B

  • 27 Mr. T. E. Middleditch. commented close 18:01 04 Aug 2013

    Please help get Erith Accessible For All people not just for some. I have been involved for years trying to get access for disabled people. Councillors have as well, especially Cllr Margaret O'Neill. What people fail to understand either is even going to Dartford is not just any easy job especially if you want to travel after 14hrs. Because no station staff are available, you will have to get a member of staff to come from Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead or Abbey Wood, or wait until a member of staff is available on these stations to come all the way to Erith and get you on the train. I even went to use the Disabled Toilet at Erith only for one of the station staff to apologise for not being able to even get in the toilet because the toilet was full with station staff materials for cleaning. I have been to a meeting in London with the Network South Manager to push this issue further. What annoys me even more is some stations already have access like Crayford, Old Bexley, Abbey Wood and Welling. Some of these have had extra work carried out on these stations but poor old Erith gets pushed back time and time again. When will Erith become a station which will allow Disabled People, Pensioners, Mums with Buggy's or people with Heavy Luggage full access. All of us love to be able to just go down to there local station and get onto a train and go anywhere we would like to go. Why should it be any different for Disabled People, Pensioners, Mums with Buggy's or people with Heavy Luggage.
    We have the New Bexley College opening up in the Autumn of 2014. Will this be fair on Students with disabilities? They all can't get on buses or get Taxi Cabs. What about when the weather is really bad. Wheelchair users can't carry a change of clothing because of the weight and other items they have to carry. Plus, Colleges will not have the facilities or trained staff for helping you to change your clothes. If you use even the specially made capes for wheelchairs they are inclined to snag in the wheels, and because they are made of lightweight materials this usually ends up ripping the cape. The other problem is that if your seat gets wet, you will have to sit on that for the rest of the day. That will lead to other problems for that disabled person /s. Sometimes (and this is not an insult), people just don't understand the simple issues facing disabled people when going out. To have problems with transport as well doesn't help at all.
    I have experienced the above as a disabled wheelchair user Manual and Electrical, and I still am having the same problems. You sometimes are left on the train arriving at London stations because the station where you got on the train didn't inform the London station that you were on your way. so you have to rely on the general public to help you out.
    We all need to get behind what Teresa Pearce's is trying to achieve. No one will be able to do this on there own. Teresa will need all our help when you are trying to get the Railway Services to change their minds over this. Erith is Growing and some new residents will be Pensioners, Disabled People, Expectant Mothers. If the station is designed for Access For Disabled People, It will make It Accessible For All Of Us.
    Terry Middleditch.

  • 28 Derek Laver commented close 19:47 04 Aug 2013

    Perhaps the management at network south rail, that wont pay out for the lift at Erith station should be set a challenge, If they don't think Erith station is worthy of a lift being installed.
    Then perhaps they should all be put in wheelchairs and made to do the journey for a month then tell us that Erith station isn't worthy of a lift.

    Network south rail top brass, will you accept this challenge????????????

  • 29 Transport for All commented close 09:59 05 Aug 2013

    There is funding available through DfT's Access for All programme - - and rail companies are expected to nominate stations by the end of the year for this. So a good strategy would be to pressure South Eastern to nominate Erith for this funding.

    Access for All targets stations with high footfall, but also takes into account presence of schools, hospitals etc, so Mr Middleditch's comments about New Bexley College are relevant. They also take into account incidence of disability in an area.

    Bexley has a strong pensioner forum - think about involving them in this campaign!

    Good luck,


  • 30 Chris Ball commented close 14:48 31 Oct 2013

    Teresa Pearce MP is spot on. As a Councillor for this ward I am all too aware of the difficulty the lack of access causes for many local people. It is a question of equality and whilst I appreciate that there is a cost involed the work needed here is long overdue.

    Cllr Chris Ball

  • 31 Mr. T. E. Middleditch. commented close 21:16 01 Nov 2013

    I and many local Cllrs and members of the public, have been fighting for access to Erith Station for years. Sadly southeastern never ever respond to our needs. That is why I'm so glad Teresa Pearce has come on board. Erith Railway Station for many years won the Best Station kept gardens. If any one goes back as far as me will remember that in the late fifties and early sixty's there was never a problem in getting onto London bound trains. You use to go off the sloped end of the platform across the well made access track and up onto the London bound platform. No problems with station staff either. You didn't have to book for a member of the station staff in advance because they were always available. Things couldn't have been better. Now along come the team about making Erith Station Access better.
    Here is how you have to get to London Now.
    1) Make a booking by phone with Southeastern Railway. If your station isn't access free, they will do one of two things. Take you by cab too the nearest accessible station. Hopefully the cab will be wheelchair accessible.
    WRONG. They have no say in the cab that collects you get a cab that is available in your area at the time.
    2) They then tell you that the staff at the station will be ready for you.
    WRONG. In all the times I've travelled by train a majority of the times they didn't eve know I was on my way.
    3) They tell you that your designated station will be read to get you off the train when it arrives.
    WRONG. Not once have the station staff been ready for me when my Friend and I arrived. My friend Chris had to get off the train and go and find staff. They even had a problem finding a ramp to get me off.
    4) When you want to come home. Just tell the staff at the station you are leaving and they will arrange to get you off the train when it arrives home. Of course the station rules out any idea of going to Erith because it is not disable friendly. So off we go to Crayford in Kent. OOOOp's I forgot to mention that there was no staff available when I got to Crayford around 17:15hrs on a Sunday. The Train Driver had to get out of his cab and find a portable ramp to get me off the train.. Luckily, my wife was collecting me from the station and I didn't have to rely on a wrong cab turning up again.
    My final say is about being part of the Western Gateway Project for Erith. We have lots of new estates being built here. I was on the Committee for New Builds for London and surrounding Boroughs based at City Hall London. the New Build Committee was to make sure that any new properties being built would be suitable for disable access, elderly etc. So we have all these things in place, yet Erith Station is not wheelchair accessible. If Erith is to progress for evyone Erith needs to be accessible for all. at the end of the day this could even be taken up as discrimetry problem. Erith Station must make it a priority for disabled Access.We also have the New Bexley College being built as well. The college has taken into account Disabled Access, so why doesn't Erith Station?
    Please don't tell me about coming in and going home by bus. There is only space for one wheelchair or two on some buses. So this is a disadvantage to disable people as well. there are station within the borough that have stations with reasonable access already. Problem is they seem to get more money to improve access and Erith is not even considered. WHY? You cannot look at stat's like footfall because if disabled people can't get access you can never get a true reading. Disabled people like to go out just like other people. They don't have to book in advance for every trip when they want to use the train. I wonder if people understand that? Especially when the wrong type of taxi turns up, or the station staff are not aware of your arrival.
    The only people who can change this is the General Public if we all shout loud enough. always remember if there is wheelchair access at stations it means that a lot of other people with walking difficulties and prams will find it very useful as well.
    What a great thing to do to help Bexley College and its future students to have access for all at Erith Station.

  • 32 Disgruntled Dave. commented close 00:20 09 Aug 2014

    I fully agree with Teresa Pearce, and all the supporting comments . There was access from the south side of Bexley road at one time, and in fact the access gate is still there although the route is overgrown .I do wonder if Erith suffers because the area is not "rich" enough?
    The poor bus services have become sporadic and less frequent especially route 99 since it was extended to Bexleyheath for some unknown reason. We have no connection to North Greenwich station either., no hope of Crossrail coming here and no hope of an Underground or DLR extension.
    Erith is expanding rapidly with new dwellings yet public transport is getting worse.

  • started 30 August 2011
  • supporters 51
Erith Rail Station in Erith operated by Southeastern
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