Stratford station

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Template:About Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use British English Template:Infobox London station Stratford station is a large multilevel railway station in Stratford, east London. The station is served by National Rail services operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, London Overground and c2c, by London Underground's Central and Jubilee lines, and by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Stratford is in London Travelcard Zone 3, and Network Rail owns the station. To distinguish it from Template:Stnlnk, this station is called Stratford (London) by National Rail,<ref name=atoc>Template:Cite web</ref> and is sometimes referred to as Stratford Regional to distinguish it from Stratford International station some Template:Convert away.<ref name=looc/> The station served as a key arrival point for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

The mainline station, in terms of arrivals and departures, handles over 21 million passengers a year, making Stratford the thirteenth busiest station in London and the twentieth busiest within the UK.<ref name=infobox_stats_ref_rail/>


Stratford station was opened on 20 June 1839 by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR). The Northern and Eastern Railway opened a section of its authorised line from Template:Stnlnk to join the ECR at Stratford on 15 September 1840. As well as a station, a railway works was built adjacent to the line to Broxbourne. This and the engine shed later expanded into the area to the west of the station which is now occupied by a shopping centre and Stratford International station.

The ECR tracks were originally set to a gauge of five feet on the recommendation of engineer John Braithwaite. At this time there was no legislation dictating the choice of gauge and indeed the directors favoured the Great Western Railways's broad gauge Template:Railgauge. Braithwaite persuaded the directors otherwise on the grounds of additional cost but recommended the 5 foot gauge in an effort to reduce wear on locomotive parts. This choice meant that the Northern & Eastern Railway who were planning to share the ECR line between Stratford and Bishopsgate were forced to adopt the same gauge.

With the extension of the ECR in the early 1840s it became apparent that standard gauge (4?8½?) was a more realistic choice and subsequently between September and October 1844 the gauge conversion was carried out. At the same time the associated Northern & Eastern Railway was also converted.

The line through the low level platforms first opened in 1846 as a goods only branch as far as Thames Wharf. The bridge under the main line was too low for many locomotives, so a number of engines were equipped with hinged chimneys in order they could operate the line.<ref name="photo caption">Template:Cite book</ref> On opening there was also a line that linked what is now known as the Great Eastern Main Line directly to the docks enabling through running from Colchester to Thames Wharf. The docks and associated railway networks expanded with passenger services to North Woolwich starting in 1847.<ref name=Maps>Template:Cite book</ref>

By 1855 there were links from both the low and high-level stations to the North London Line as well as a spur that enabled trains from Liverpool Street to North Woolwich to avoid Stratford altogether (although this served Stratford Market station) which was a short distance away. In 1896 the low-level line was lowered under the main line so locomotives no longer required hinged chimneys.<ref name="photo caption"/>

Central Line services started on 4 December 1946, extended from Liverpool Street station in new tunnels after being delayed due to the Second World War. The line was further extended to Template:LUL stations on 5 May 1947 and then to the former Great Eastern Railway branch lines to Template:LUL stations, Template:LUL stations and Template:LUL stations progressively until 1957. Prior to this date trains to and from Epping and Ongar had used the currently numbered platforms 11 and 12 and diverged from the Broxbourne line about half a mile north of the station. Trains for the Hainault loop used either these platforms or the currently numbered platform 5 (up) or 8 (down) diverging from the Great Eastern Main Line at a junction between Ilford and Seven Kings which has since been redeveloped as part of the Ilford Carriage sheds.

The Docklands Light Railway opened on 31 August 1987 reusing redundant rail routes through the Bow and Poplar areas to reach the new Docklands developments on the Isle of Dogs.

The low-level station was substantially rebuilt in the late 1990s as part of the Jubilee Line Extension works, with a large new steel and glass building designed by Wilkinson Eyre that encloses much of the low-level station, and a new ticket hall. The old ticket hall, at the eastern end of the station and connected via a subway, has since been demolished. The Jubilee Line opened to passengers on 14 May 1999 as far as Template:LUL stations station, and to Template:LUL stations and Template:LUL stations in November 1999.

In April 2009 the North London Line platforms at Stratford moved to newly built high-level platforms 1 & 2 from the original low-level platforms 1 & 2, freeing the old platforms for the DLR's Stratford International service which opened in August 2011. After rebuilding the old platforms reopened as platforms 16 and 17.

With the great increase in services and passengers since the Second World War, Stratford has changed from a fairly busy junction into one of Britain's major rail interchanges. Growth is set to continue in the future with the opening of the Crossrail line across London and the stopping of international services at nearby Stratford International station (in 2014 this is only served by domestic services).

Goods facilities

There were three primary goods facilities in the Stratford area in the steam age, although the nearby Stratford Works and engine shed generated their own traffic. A short distance to the north of Stratford station (on the line to Cambridge) there were marshalling yards at Temple Mills. There was a small goods yard situated north of the station on the eastern side of the line which occupied a constrained site. The mainstay of traffic was domestic coal although shortly before closure in the 1960s the site was used as a reception point for concrete components for the building of tower blocks in Newham

There was a small depot at Carpenters Road about a quarter of a mile south of Stratford station. Opened in 1900, the depot consisted of four long sidings and primarily dealt with coal and building materials. It was closed on 7th December 1964.

There was a large depot at Stratford Market railway station. All of these three facilities were operated by the Great Eastern Railway up until 1923 before being taken over by the London & North Eastern Railway until nationalization in 1948 when they became part of British Railways Eastern Region.

There was also a goods terminal at Bow operated by the Midland Railway which is still open today mostly for building materials. This yard operated as the terminal for building materials for the adjacent Olympics site.

During the 1960s part of the Stratford Works site was converted to the London International Freight Terminal (LIFT) and there was a freight liner terminal that operated on the far side of the Stratford railway complex (on the Channelsea Loop line). The former site is now occupied by the international station and shopping centre.

Station layout

Template:Stratford stations

High-level platforms

File:Stratford station signage.jpg
Different platform signage (clockwise from top left) London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee line, National Express East Anglia
File:Unit 378005 at Stratford.jpg
London Overground North London Line train on the new platform with the new footbridge to Stratford City in the right
File:1992 stock st Stratford platform 3a Sept2010.jpg
Westbound platforms 3 and 3a at Stratford station (with a London Underground Central Line train arriving). Trains now open their doors on both sides at this platform.
Two British Railways Class 416 trains working on the North London Line pass at Stratford (low level) station. This view shows the station as it was before rebuilding for the Jubilee line.
File:Stratford stn Jubillee line.JPG
Jubilee line platforms 13 to 15, opened in 1999
File:Stratford station northern entrance.jpg
Stratford station's new northern entrance

The high-level platforms run at right angles to the low-level, roughly east-west. The DLR lines serving platforms 16 and 17 pass beneath the high-level station. Except for platforms 4a and b, Access from the main station entrance is via subways; a second subway links the Jubilee line platforms directly to platforms 3–10 (but not 4a/b). A third subway, which had served the old entrance to the station, was re-opened in September 2010<ref name="ODA June 2011">Template:Cite web</ref>

  • Platforms 1 & 2 are used by the London Overground North London line. They comprise an island platform with a step-free link to platform 12 and the subways linking to platforms 3 to 11.<ref name="loleaflet">London Overground: Statford Platform Changes (Information leaflet, TfL January 2009)</ref> The platforms can accommodate trains with up to 6 cars, though at present, due to short platforms elsewhere, 4-car trains are used.
  • Platforms 3, 3A & 6 are used by Central line trains, which rise from their tunnels into the open air here and immediately descend back underground afterwards. Platforms 3 & 6 are 'island' platforms providing easy cross-platform interchange with National Rail services operating from platforms 5 and 8 respectively (see below), while platform 3A has a direct step-free connection at mezzanine level, facilitating easier interchange with Jubilee line trains on platforms 13-15 and Docklands Light Railway trains on platforms 4A & 4B. Westbound Central line trains travelling towards London Liverpool Street Station and Central London open their doors on both sides, so that passengers can alight and board trains from either side, reducing dwell times and peak-hour congestion in the passageways. This station is one of only two where London Underground services open their doors on both sides (the other being on the eastbound District Line at Barking).Template:Citation needed
  • Platforms 4 & 7 are abandoned. When the London to Shenfield line was electrified in the 1940s, there was an intention to run a shuttle service from Template:Stnlnk to Stratford, calling at Stepney and Bow Road, which would have terminated at these bay platforms. However, this service was never introduced (despite all the works required being carried out). In the 1980s platform 4 was used as the terminus of the Docklands Light Railway while platform 7 remained abandoned. In 2007 platform 4 was abandoned again as the DLR moved to two new platforms to the south of platform 4, though these are signposted as platform 4 within the station.
  • Platforms 4A & 4B (signposted as platform 4) are used by the Docklands Light Railway for services to Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Lewisham. They consist of a single island platform with two faces, numbered 4A and 4B. These platforms are not accessed by the subway(s) but through a separate entrance on the upper level of the main concourse.[A different branch of the DLR is served from low level platforms 16 and 17.]
  • Platforms 5 & 8 are used by Abellio Greater Anglia services on the slow lines out of London Liverpool Street. These are mostly the 'Shenfield metro' services to Template:Stnlnk, but during the off-peak they are also used by trains to Template:Stnlnk. Two late-evening c2c trains pass through the station each weekday on the way from Liverpool Street to Barking and vice versa. c2c also pass through when there are engineering works between Barking & London Fenchurch Street. Cross-platform interchange is available with Central line services running from platforms 3 and 6 respectively (see above).
  • Platforms 9, 10 & 10A are used by Abellio Greater Anglia services on the fast lines out of London Template:LUL stations towards Norwich and destinations served by branches off the Great Eastern Main Line, e.g. Clacton-on-Sea, Braintree, and Southend. Originally there were only two platforms here, but in the 1990s the station buildings on Platform 9 were demolished to make an island platform with faces on both sides. The new face became 9, the old 9 became 10 and the old 10 became 10A.
  • Platforms 11 & 12 have been used since December 2005 for Abellio Greater Anglia services to Broxbourne and Bishop's Stortford. There is a half-hourly service Monday to Saturdays, extending to Hertford East, Stansted Airport or Cambridge in the peaks with an hourly service to Cambridge on Sundays, as of the December 2011 timetable. Most services use platform 12, since trains cannot terminate and reverse direction in platform 11.

Low-level platforms

These platforms are at ground level and run north-south. Platforms 13-16 are served by a footbridge (with lifts and escalators) from the main station entrance, while platform 17 adjoins directly on to the main station concourse.

  • Platforms 13–15 were built in the late 1990s to serve the Jubilee line when it was extended here in 1999. All three are bay platforms. A footbridge joins the platforms at the south end, away from the main station building.
  • Platforms 16 & 17 (platforms 1 and 2 until 2009) originally served trains from Palace Gates (near Alexandra Palace) to Template:Stnlnk, a service which no longer operates. In the 1980s, trains from Template:LUL stations to Broad Street were diverted to run via these platforms to North Woolwich. Following the closure of the line to North Woolwich on 9 December 2006, these platforms effectively became a terminus, with trains heading west only, towards Richmond, although both platforms remained in use. These platforms are now used by DLR services, platform 16 is for Northbound trains to Stratford International and platform 17 is for Southbound trains to Beckton during off-peak times and Woolwich Arsenal during peak times.<ref name="loleaflet"/> The new platforms have also been built with a reversing siding immediately south of the platforms, accessible from both running lines. This enables trains from Stratford International to terminate at the station, and trains from Canning Town to also terminate here. There is also a crossover immediately north of the platforms, allowing trains from the southbound platform to reverse onto the northbound line back to Stratford International. [A different branch of the DLR is served from the high level platforms 4 a and b].

Stratford International

Template:Main The nearby Stratford International station opened on 30 November 2009 (for preview services only). Since 13 December 2009 Southeastern began its full domestic high-speed service between London St Pancras, directly to Ebbsfleet International and Ashford in Kent. The Docklands Light Railway 'Stratford International' extension has provided a link between the two stations since 31 August 2011. There is also a walking route between the two stations passing through the newly built Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre.

Despite Stratford International's name, no international trains call there, and Eurostar (currently the only international operator) has no plans to do so. Passengers instead interconnect on high-speed trains travelling to either London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet in Kent, there are a number of other potential operators that may use the station for international services. These include Deutsche Bahn's proposed London-Frankfurt/Amsterdam service and the proposed "Transmanche Metro" service to Calais via local stations.

Service patterns

The typical off-peak weekday service per hour (tph) from Stratford is as follows:

Train Operator Frequency
and Destination
London Underground
Central Line
15 tph to Template:LUL stations
15 tph to Template:LUL stations
9 tph to Template:LUL stations via Newbury Park
3 tph to Template:LUL stations via Hainault
15 tph to Template:LUL stations
London Underground
Jubilee line
30 tph to Template:LUL stations/Template:LUL stations/Template:LUL stations
Abellio Greater Anglia 13 tph (+ 1 tph to set down only) to London Liverpool Street
6 tph to Template:Stnlnk
3 tph to Template:Stnlnk
2 tph to Template:Stnlnk
1 tph to Template:Stnlnk
1 tph to Template:Stnlnk
1 tph to Template:Stnlnk
1 tph to Template:Stnlnk
1 tph to Template:Stnlnk
London Overground 4 tph to Template:LUL stations
2 tph to Template:Stnlnk
National Express c2c Limited services to Template:Stnlnk and Template:Stnlnk
Limited services to London Liverpool Street
Limited services to Template:Rws
Docklands Light Railway 6 tph to Canary Wharf via Poplar
6 tph to Stratford International
6 tph to Beckton via Custom House (off-peak only; service operates to Woolwich Arsenal via London City Airport during peak hours)


All lines at Stratford are electrified, although a few passenger and freight services which pass through this station are hauled by diesel locomotives. At one time there were four different systems of electrification in use, a record for any station in London. However, since the diversion of the North London Line from the low-level to the new high-level platforms these trains have changed the electrical system they use while at this station. The remaining systems used are:

  • 25 kV 50 Hz overhead on Network Rail lines (high level)
  • 630 V dc fourth rail on London Underground Central and Jubilee lines
  • 750 V dc bottom-contact conductor rail on Docklands Light Railway
  • Since April 2009, 750 V dc third rail is no longer used at this station. This was used for the London Overground (low level) North London Line services.

In 1949 the Great Eastern Main Line through Stratford was electrified at 1500 V dc overhead before being converted to 6.25 kV AC 50 Hz overhead in 1960 and converted again to 25 kV in about 1976.

Stratford City

In preparation for the Olympics and the Stratford City development, a new north-facing exit and ticket hall has been built. Both existing passenger subways have been extended north to connect with the ticket hall, and the abandoned subway at the eastern end of the station, which formed part of the old station complex, has been reopened and refurbished to allow interchange between platforms 3-12 and the new high-level platforms 1 & 2. A new pedestrian bridge has also been built to connect Stratford shopping centre with the Stratford City development. This also connects the mezzanine-level ticket hall with the northern one. The northern ticket hall and the footbridge opened along with Westfield Stratford City on 13 September 2011.


The Greater Anglia service north to Tottenham Hale will see a re-opened station at Template:Stnlnk. As of July 2013, construction is due to start shortly and is expected to be complete by late 2015.

The station will also become a major interchange for Crossrail services, due to commence in 2018.<ref name="Crossrail 2018">Template:Cite news</ref> Crossrail will take over current high frequency Shenfield Metro services and will link Stratford via new tunnels to Paddington, Heathrow Airport, Maidenhead and possibly Reading

File:Stratford station 13.jpg
A 360° view, taken in October 2005, of the canopy structure housing the new ticket hall. The high-level station is through the windows in the centre, the low-level station is on the right, with the gates to the Jubilee line (now removed) on the far left.
File:Stratford station 360 - August 2008.jpg
The same view in August 2008. Note the new DLR platforms on the left, and the additional westbound Central Line platform under construction through the windows in the left-centre.

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On 8 April 1953 a collision occurred in the Central Lines tunnels just to the east of Stratford station.<ref name="mcmullen-1953">Template:Cite report</ref>

Other transport links

File:Stratford Centre and coach station.jpg
Stratford Bus station on the right

Stratford station also has a major bus interchange, completed in November 1994 on the Town Centre side (E15). Bus routes 25, 69, 86, 104, 108, 158, 238, 241 to Stratford City only, 257, 262, 276, 308, 425, 473, 678 terminating only, N8 and N86 serve the station. There is also another bus interchange which opened in September 2011 on the Stratford City side (E20) and is served by routes 97, 241, 339, 588, D8 and N205, followed by routes 308 and 388 (when 588 is discontinued) in December. All routes mentioned are operated as part of the Transport for London, London Buses network. These are operated by Arriva London, CT Plus, Go-Ahead London, Stagecoach London and Tower Transit. Transport for London owns and manages the bus stations, while National Express Coaches routes 010 to Cambridge and A9 to London Stansted Airport also and other coache routes to East Anglia and Terravision A52 to London Stansted Airport serve. The Station also has two Taxi Ranks on either side too. One on Meridian Square (E15) and the other on Mountfitchet Road (E20).



External links

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