The London Underground is known to be the oldest urban railway network in the world. Although lots still have to be done before it becomes fully accessible to disabled people there are already over 36 step-free stations, eleven of which are on the Jubilee Line extension. A small number of other stations have partial step-free access, usually to one platform only. It is always useful to call the station you are travelling through to check whether they do meet standards for disable people. Be aware that even if some stations are wheelchair accessible you could face problems with gradients or interchange facilities.
You can obtain a copy of the accessible tube map at all stations or by calling 020 7941 4600. This guide is useful for detailed information of facilities for disabled people in each station.
Access information is available on the website of Transport for London at:
This includes a tube map showing those stations which are wheelchair accessible which can be downloaded: www.tfl.gov.uk/tube/images/tube_access_tube1.gif
There is also detailed information about the numbers of steps etc at all the stations.
Visual and cognitive impairment
Describe-online.com provides text versions of the National and London Underground Rail Network maps, a station finder and text guides to individual stations.
Major tube stations with lifts:
Canada Water, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Ealing Common, Earl’s Court, East India, Greenwich, Green Park, Hammersmith, Heathrow, Hampstead, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Westminster and Waterloo.
Step free stations:
Bermondsey, Caledonian Road, Chalfont & Latimer, Canada Water, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Chesham, Chorleywood, Dagenham, Heathway, Elm Park, Hammersmith, Heathrow Term 1-2-3-4, Hillingdon, London Bridge, North Greenwich, Roding Valley, Southwark, Stanmore, Stratford, Sudbury Town, Tottenham Hale, Upney, Uxbridge, Woodford, West Finchley, Westminster and Woodside Park.
The new trains serving the Jubilee line have a special space for wheelchairs and pushchair as well as audible and visual information systems to announce the name of each station and the train destination.
Safe, accessible and immediately available, London’s famous black cabs provide a world-class service. They offer a unique, convenient and accessible way of getting from place to place throughout London.
They are wheelchair accessible and most have a variety of additional aids for disabled customers. The fares charged are regulated, and with safety paramount all taxi vehicles and drivers must meet minimum standards (for drivers this includes passing the world renowned 'Knowledge of London' examinations). Licensed vehicles are subject to regular checks by the Public Carriage Office.
To get a taxi just look for the lit ‘TAXI’ light! They can be hailed in the street or located on designated ranks which are situated at prominent places, including many mainline rail, underground and bus stations.
There are also a number of taxi service providers that are just a phone call away. Terms and conditions may vary so please check.
- Taxi one-number: 0871 871 8710
- Computer Cab: 020 7432 1432
- Dial-A-Cab: 020 7253 5000
- Radio Taxis: 020 7272 0272
- Call-A-Cab: 020 8901 4444
- Xeta: 08451 083 000
- Zingo: ("Hail a taxi by phone") 08700 700 700
- DataCab: 020 7432 1540
Responsibility for providing services at the airport is shared between the airport and the airline. In general terms the airport is responsible for passenger services and assistance from arrival up to and including the check in desk. After you have checked in, the airline and its baggage handling agents are responsible for providing any help.
Passengers should inform their airline at the time of booking if assistance will be required. The airline can then make arrangements for the passenger to be assisted from the aircraft and through control points on arrival in the UK.
For those with very particular needs, Heathrow and Gatwick airports maintain Travel Care Centres whose staff can assist disabled passengers on arrival, provided flight times and the nature of help required is given in advance.
Gatwick Travel Care
Room 3014B, Gatwick Village, Gatwick Airport
West Sussex, RH6 0NP
Tel: 0044 1293 504 283 Fax: 0044 1293 503 317
The Gatwick Express frequent train service into London is also accessible to passengers in wheelchairs.
Enquires Tel: +44 8705 30 15 30.
Assistance number for disabled or mobility impaired customers: Tel 0990 301530.
Heathrow Travel Care
Queen’s Building, Room 1308
Heathrow Airport, Hounslow TW6 1BZ
Tel: 0044 181 745 7495 Fax: 0044 181 745 4161
It’s a special train that connects Heathrow Airport to central London and vice versa.
The web site provides useful information about the timetable, the washroom facilities the access to the terminals or platforms. Alternatively you can phone to the enquires office at 0845 600 15 15.
Available from Heathrow Travel Care is the booklet, A Guide to Heathrow Airport for People with Special Needs. All Airbus services linking Heathrow terminals with central London are wheelchair-accessible, as are the majority of licensed taxis serving the airport.
London's main train terminals & Stationlink
For comprehensive information and journey planning by rail, look up: www.nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/disabled_passengers/
Train Companies Disabled Assistance Telephone Numbers:
- Arriva Trains Wales - Tel: 08453 003 005 Textphone: 08457 585 469
- Central Trains - Tel: 08706 096 060 Textphone: 08457 078 051
- Chiltern Railways - Tel: 08456 005 165 Textphone: 08457 078 051
- C2c - Tel: 01702 357 640 Textphone: 08457 125 988
- First Great Western - Tel: 08457 413 775
- First Great Western Link - Tel: 08453 303 728 Textphone: 08453 303 729
- First Scotrail - Tel: 08456 057 021 Textphone: 08456 020 346
- Gatwick Express - Tel: 08458 501 530
- Great North Eastern - Tel: 08457 225 444 Textphone: 08451 202 067
- Hull Trains - Tel: 01482 606 388
- Island Line - Tel: 01983 562 492 Textphone: 08456 050 441
- Merseyrail - Tel: 01517 022 071 Textphone: 01517 022 071
- Midland Mainline - Tel: 08457 125 678 Textphone: 08457 078 051
- Northern - Tel: 08456 008 008 Textphone: 08456 045 608
- One - Tel: 08456 007 241 Textphone: 08456 067 245
- Silverlink Metro - Tel: 08456 014 867 Textphone: 08457 125 988
- Silverlink County - Tel: 08456 014 868 Textphone: 08457 125 988
- South Eastern Trains - Tel: 08450 002 211 Textphone: 01233 617 621
- South West Trains - Tel: 0800 528 2100 Textphone: 0800 6920 792
- Southern - Tel: 0800 138 1016 Textphone: 0800 138 1018
- Thameslink - Tel: 0800 247 1012 Textphone: 0800 247 1024
- Transpennine Express - Tel: 08456 001 671 Textphone: 08456 001 673
- Virgin Trains - Tel: 08457 443 366 Textphone: 08457 443 367
- Wagn - 08457 818 919 Textphone: 08457 124 988
- Wessex Trains - 08453 000 517 Textphone: 08456 050 600
If you are not able to use the Underground to access National Rail terminals and Victoria Coach Station, Stationlink provides cross-London transport links between the mainline train terminals. Two bus services run on a circular route in both directions every day.
Bus 205 links Paddington, Marylebone, Euston, St Pancras, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel.
Bus 905 links Paddington, Victoria Coach Station, Victoria, Waterloo, London Bridge, Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street.
All the buses are low-floor and equipped with ramps operated by the driver to provide easy access for wheelchair users. The kneeling suspension can drop the floor level down to the kerb for the less mobile and those with buggies or luggage. The wide gangways and space for luggage mean that this is a useful service for all travellers.
For further information call London Travel Information on +44 (0)20 7222 1234
Further details and timetables are also available online.
Passenger assistance on the trains
Most of train operators publish their own guides for disabled passengers with more details about their route and the facilities available at the different stations they use.
Assistance can be arranged for you at your departure, destination and other stations if you need to change trains.
To ensure the best service it is essential that you communicate your travel requirements at least 24 hours before you want to travel. If you are unable to give adequate notice, staff will help you as much as possible but they cannot guarantee to provide the normal level of service.
Give at least 24 hours (preferably 48 hours) notice of assistance you will need on your journey;
Inform the train operator how you will travel to and from the mainline stations (so that you can be met by station staff);
Check whether you need to change train during your journey. If you do need to change, ensure that station staff have been notified so that you can be assisted from one train to the other;
Let the station know if you will need to borrow a wheelchair;
Tell staff whether you are travelling alone or with a companion;
National Rail, provide the relevant journey information, seat reservations and tickets, where this is possible.
Tel. 0845 7 48 49 50
Textphone 0845 60 50 600
The Rail Travel for Disabled Passengers leaflet is available from most railway stations and some libraries and tells you the minimum level of service you can expect throughout Britain's rail network.
Many of the train companies produce their own guides for disabled passengers which give you more information about their own stations and train services.
If you have booked your journey in advance, train companies will help you if your journey is disrupted (for example, your train is late or cancelled), or if you have any other problems. If you do not book in advance, they will still help you where this is possible. Train companies will give you a refund if they cannot provide the arrangements you booked in advance.
DISABLED PERSONS RAILCARD
UK residents with disabilities are entitled to a Disabled Persons Railcard, which allows you to buy discounted rail tickets, generally one third off, with the same discount for an accompanying carer. For details of who qualifies, and how to apply contact: www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/ or call Disabled Persons Railcard application helpline on 0191 218 8103 or textphone 0191 269 0304
If you live abroad and plan to visit Britain, the BritRail Pass gives the freedom to travel on all National Rail services. Ask for details from your travel agent before leaving for Britain. They can normally be bought from travel agents outside Britain or by visiting the BritRail website
(Last Updated: 11-07-2012)