Over 100 Hadley Wood residents gathered at the station on a warm and sunny Friday 26th May for the official opening of the accessible step free entrance to the northbound platform. In his very entertaining opening speech, Will Pike, a wheelchair user owing to the 2008 terrorist attack at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai and now a disability campaigner for the charity Inclusion Barnet, spoke passionately about the impact of initiatives like this on people’s lives. He was preceded by GTR’s Programme Manager and prime mover in this project, Andrew Sidgwick, and by Chair of the Rail User Group Francesca Caine, their speeches punctuated by the occasional train, each heralded by Will waving a flag. (George Stephenson would have approved.) Francesca thanked the several representatives of GTR present for their great help in providing not only the new entrance, the first on this route within Greater London, but also the many other improvements made to our station through collaboration with the Rail User Group. Complimentary refreshments were provided and Thymari opened its doors for everyone to sit, eat and relax. Raffle prizes generously provided by all our local businesses were awarded, the proceeds going to Inclusion Barnet, the local deaf and disabled people’s organisation which works towards a more accessible society for all.
The construction of this step free entrance and other improvements to the station were the result of hard work by the Rail User Group, great leadership by Francesca Caine and strong support from residents. Hopefully a foretaste of things to come.