Friday, 13 June 2014

The Shard

Today I went to the Shard. It was meant to be a straight forward journey; drive to Hampton Court station, train to Waterloo, Jubilee line to London bridge. An hour tops. Unfortunately it didn't go exactly to plan. At Waterloo we were told the lifts to the Jubilee line were unavailable because of planned maintenance...... until the end of July. I made the guy wait while I typed out and read at full volume "that is fucking ridiculous". Because it is. Wheelchair access on the tube network is absolutely disgraceful anyway. Having one of the few accessible tube lines inaccessible from one of the world's busiest stations, for 2 months is inexcusable.

We were told we could access the jubilee line from Southwark station, which was a 10 minute walk away. Luckily it was a nice day so we headed off. We reached the station and got the lift to the platform. The train arrived, doors opened and we saw a 5cm height difference between train and platform which is impossible in this wheelchair, especially when there's also another 5cm horizontal gap between train and platform. I am sure the last time I travelled from Waterloo, the access was better but then I had my offroad wheelchair which easily coped with these types of challenge.

I think when wheelchair access is considered during construction projects, it's based on manual wheelchairs which have big wheels and can be tipped back easily. Power chairs actually need LEVEL access. Wheelchair users aren't all Ade Adepitan!

So we walked for another 20 minutes to the Shard.

Twenty quid and four lifts later we were 800 feet above London. Needless to say, the view is amazing. Seeing helicopters flying beneath you and Big Ben almost indistinguishable from it's surrounding buildings puts your height into perspective.

We stayed for around 30 minutes before getting the bus back to the OXO tower, spending some time on the Southbank and returning home. Kadvi wasn't phased by any of the challenges and maintained good humoured throughout so overall it was a good day out and have learned that buses are now the only way of travelling within London.


phil said...

Hey Steve,
Glad you had a lovely day for your trip and those fantastic views over the city - though the travel hitches you have to endure would rapidly drive me nuts.
Despite all the complications you've still managed to visit the Shard before me, anyway!
See you soon x

phil said...

Omg those photos are amazing. I never appreciated how high it was. Bet that guy hasn't been blasphemed at like that before! A proper steve adventure. Thanks for sharing it with us so swiftly. laura X

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, so good to hear your news. You made your trip to the Shard on the day Matthew and Peter turned 13. I really should take them, but I'm rubbish at heights! So pleased you didn't let the travel aggro spoil your day. Lovely photos! Anna P

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve - I love your Shard photos. I went up with my mum last year and it was so high she got vertigo and just stood at the top of the steps clinging on to the wall. It's great that Kadvi is happy to take on the inevitable setbacks of these sorts of journeys and that her talents extend to taking decent photographs. Lynn x