Woolwich foot tunnel lift out of action since August 2022

The unreliability of lifts at Woolwich foot tunnel has been revealed by Greenwich Council with the northern end not seeing its lift work since August 2022.

A reader contacted me after being notified of a response from the authority which also stated a repair is expected in August 2024.

Woolwich foot tunnel’s north lift hasn’t worked for nearing two years

However in July 2023 they stated repairs would be in August 2023. That never happened.

In reply to a more recent question seeking an update the authority states:

“Woolwich Foot Tunnel (South Lift ) has been available 54% of the time from 14 February 2024 to 10 April 2024, following second vandalism event this time to lower landing doors. Engineers are working on repairs.”

“Woolwich Foot Tunnel (North) has been available 0% of the time since 21 August 2022.”

South lift working – sometimes

Despite a transport strategy that aims to prioritise walking and cycling faults have continued impacting many.

A multi-million pound bodged upgrade in 2010 saw lift attendants removed and new lifts installed – which have rarely worked.

New Superloop route starts near northern foot tunnel building


Grand plans for new lighting and other cosmetic upgrades never made it into fruition as costs rose. Unfortunately the glossy renders of how it was supposed to look have disappeared to time but it was nothing like what happened.

The crossing is now unusable for many disabled pedestrians, people with buggies and cyclists having to struggle up numerous stairs.

Cyclist walking down due to broken lift

The problem has recently been magnified as the northern foot tunnel entrance is now the terminus to the recently introduced Superloop route SL2.

What should be a convenient link to various parts of east London from south of the river is inaccessible to many.

New Superloop route starts near northern tunnel building

That route offers links to various areas such as Barking, Ilford and Walthamstow. With the hoppa fare someone could take a bus to Woolwich, head under and carry one their journey – though only if able bodied.

It works the other way too. Those in east London who may want to reach Woolwich to shop or visit, say, Woolwich Works have to pay to use the DLR or risk the Woolwich ferry – which itself has been a tad shambolic in recent years.

Greenwich council now states the lift repairs are due this summer. Let’s see what happens.



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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

5 thoughts on “Woolwich foot tunnel lift out of action since August 2022

  • Slow clap for greenwich council – it should cost more not to provide contracted services.
    If i was greenwich council, would be offering free Uberboats to the north side for residents, charging back to the contractor and/or a TFL coffer.

  • If the council and the mayor of London were serious about offering active travel opportunities then a second, parallel tunnel would be built so that there was one for cyclists and another for pedestrians. And while they did that they should make ramps at either end. This could happen as part of whatever happens with the land that is currently the leisure centre. (There’s already a big open space on the North side). I know, pie in the sky…

  • This has been going on for years .
    Greenwich Council is responsible for maintaining this foot tunnel as it is for the Greenwich foot tunnel.
    Clearly this is beyond their abilities – in which case Cllrs should ask Transport for London to take them over .
    The needs of the users must come first .

  • Woolwich foot tunnel experience is kak…

  • Rumour has it, the tunnels are haunted.


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