I went to Canterbury today and took the Highspeed service from Stratford International station.
These are pictures I took at the station.
Most stations have the odd design issue, but Stratford International has a whole warehouse that’s full of them.
International In Name, But Not Trains
Stratford International station must be the only station in the world, which is billed as an International station, where all trains are domestic.
That to me is fraud!
Should I report the station to the Police?
Connecting With Stratford Station
I travelled to the station via the domestic Stratford station, which meant I had to walk the best part of a mile through the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which was mainly closed as it was earl;y in the morning.
Surely the connection could have been designed to be a shorter walk.
It’s not even straight through the Shopping Centre, but you have to double back after going right through almost to John Lewis.
It’s just designed so you pass as many shops as possible. I was wanting to use a train, not buy something.
This Google Map shows the two Stratford stations.
Topsy could have designed it better. Even when she was about five!
Surely something better can be done.
The Link To The Docklands Light Railway
You could use the Docklands Light Railway, but then that introduces more changes into to your journey.It is the route recommended by the National Rail Journey Planner.
But the DLR station is on the other side of a road, rather than inside Stratford International station.
The Link To Crossrail
It’s only going to get worse when Crossrail opens, as passengers wanting to go to between say Paddington and East Kent will be drawn to Stratford, only to discover the struggle through Eastfield to Stratford International.
The alternative route via Abbey Wood will be slower and will probably mean extra changes.
There will be one better route available from Crossrail to Stratford International, when the new line opens and that will be to go to Canary Wharf station and, take the short walk to Poplar DLR station. A trip on London’s unique Docklands Light Railway will take you direct to Stratford International station. The DLR always delivers when the chips are down, just as it did in the 2012 Olympics.
No Place To Wait Before The Platforms
Except for a few uncomfortable seats designed by a sadist and what looks to be a comfortable cafe, there is no place to wait on the station concourse before going to the platforms.
A few comfortable seats would be welcome.
The Bleakest Platforms In The UK
That is being charitable, as in all my traels across Europe, even in say a very cold Eastern Europe, any set of platforms as unwelcoming.
Perhaps I should try Siberia!
Appalling Train Access For The Disabled
Considering that the Class 395 trains are the only ones to use the platforms, the disabled acess using a ramp is so nineteenth century.
I joked about the quality of this to a member of staff and they said that in the rush hour, they are sometimes assisting as many as four passengers.
It’s probably lucky that the HighSpeed service is not an intense one, as with this level of disabled access, there would be train delays.
The station and line is a disgrace and especially for the disabled.
Considering it was only built a few years ago, everybody concerned should hang their heads in shame.
What would I do?
- Where the DLR goes under the main line platforms at Stratford station, between the two subways, I’d extend the DLR platforms underneath and provide direct access between the two levels. This must be possible and would enable passengers to change between main line, Crossrail and Central Line services with the DLR between Canary Wharf and Stratford International.
- Try and improve the connection to the DLR at Stratford International
- Replace or modify the Class 395 trains/pltform interface with something fit for purpose, that had level access to the platforms, so wheelchair passengers could just roll in.
- Do something about the bleakness of the station.
I’d also increase the number of Highspeed services through the station, so that all destinations got at least two direct trains per hour from Stratford.
I would also add some extra new destinations like Eastbourne and Hastings.
Does that make it a Bactrian station?
It’s certainly the sort of thing, that you’ll see in posh Islington and would never see in plebian Hackney.