Closure of Highgate Tube escalators could leave mums and elderly stranded

Mothers with buggies and the elderly could be left stranded at Highgate Station after transport chiefs shut down an escalator for eight months.

The station will be without a downwards escalator until June as engineers set to work replacing every part of the three escalators at the station.

Commuters say the disruption will make it impossible for passengers with pushchairs and suitcases and the elderly to make it down the flight of 100 stairs.

Highgate School librarian Tina Janering, who uses the station every day, said: “Surely they could build a whole new station during that time?

“Quite frankly, that’s way too long to leave us without a downwards escalator.”

Last October the escalators ground to a halt for two months after a gear box broke. Highgate is on the Northern Line – London’s deepest Tube route – and there is no lift to platforms.

Transport for London has advised users to travel by bus to Archway, East Finchley or Finchley Central stations if they cannot manage the staircase.

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Nigel Holness, operations director for London Underground, apologised for the disruption.

He said: “Tube escalators are huge complex machines used by thousands of passengers a day. This planned work, which involves replacing every part of each of three escalators from the gear box to each individual step, will allow us to extend the life of the escalators for our customers.

“The three escalators at the station will be upgraded one at a time. Two escalators run from the ticket hall to platforms and while these are being worked on there will always be one in operation in the up direction. This means there will be no down escalator to the platforms until June 2013.”