The Anonymous Widower

Shuttling Between Stratford And Meridian Water Stations

The shuttle between Stratford and Meridian Water stations started today with a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

As a driver said to me, it’s more of a Z, than a shuttle, as it has this pattern.

  • Bishops Stortford to Stratford. – 56 or 53 minute +turnaound of six minutes
  • Stratford to Meridian Water – 15 minutes + turnround of seven minutes
  • Meridian Water to Stratford – 15 minutes + turnround of seven minutes
  • Stratford to Bishops Stortford – 53 or 55 minutes + turnround of 19-24 minutes

As I said in Meridian Water Station Is To Be Upgraded, the diagram takes three and a half hours and it would need seven trains.


  1. Most of the trains today, seemed to have been formed of two four-car Class 317 trains, although there was at least one train working as a four-car train.
  2. I made two visits to the route today and it seemed to be performing reliably.
  3. One train was cancelled due to a shortage of crew.

These are some pictures, I took throughout the day.

A few thoughts on what I saw and deduced.

The Timetable Works

The timetable seems to have worked well today and the driver who described the timetable as a Z, didn’t say it was crazy or ridiculous.

Passengers didn’t seem to be running around like headless chickens, so they were probably getting the hang of it.

Greater Anglia and Network Rail should be very pleased.

The Stations Have Long Platforms

The stations on the route; Stratford, Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water, all seem to have long platforms, which can certainly accommodate eight-car trains, which are 160 metres long.

Tottenham Hale’s platforms can handle twelve-car trains and are 240 metres long.

Do Greater Anglia’s Trains Fit the Platforms?

Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains come in two lengths.

  • Five-car trains are 122 metres long.
  • Ten-car trains are 243 metres long.

Only the five-car trains will fit the platforms at Lea Bridge, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water and the ten-car trains will only fit Stratford and Tottenham Hale.

It certainly looks to me, that only five-car trains will be able work the Z-shaped service between Stratford, Meridian Water and Bishops Stortford stations.

But this is not a problem.

In Greater Anglia Are Replacing Eight-Car Class 317 Trains With Five-Car Class 320 Trains , I explained how the new five-car train has almost the same capacity as the old eight-car train.

There Are Now Three tph Between Stratford and Northumberland Park 

This is probably only an interim timetable, but it still has tripled the frequency of trains between Stratford and Northumberland Park.

This means that the base frequency for events at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium has tripled.

So those going to events at the stadium, will have increased train  capacity from Stratford, Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale.

As only one train of the two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stops at Northumberland Park, it would be easy to up the frequency to four tph, by getting the second service to stop.

This Timetable Can Easily Be Increased To Four tph Between Stratford And Meridian Water

Currently, the two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford, stop as follows.

  • 1 tph – Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Harlow Town and Sawbridgeworth
  • 1 tph – Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, Enfield Lock, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Harlow Town, Harlow Mill and Sawbridgeworth

The four tph between Stratford and Meridian Water, that was promised in the STAR project, could be arranged by stopping both trains at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water in both directions.

The only extra stops at Northumberland Park and Meridian Water would be as follows.

  • Southbound in Platform 3
  • Northbound in Platform 4

These are the same platforms current services use at Tottenham Hale.

The Proposed Fourth Track Between Meridian Water And Tottenham Hale

How does the now-implemented Z-shaped service fit with the proposed fourth track, I discussed in Meridian Water Station Is To Be Upgraded.

The upgrade is described in the Wiukipedia entry for Meridian Water station, where this is said.

In August 2019, it was announced that funding had been approved for construction of a fourth platform and a new section of track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water to enable up to 8 trains per hour to serve the station at peak times.

This must be the earliest upgrade in history, after a new station has opened.

In the related report, I came to the conclusion, that the fourth track would.

  • Leave the Southbound West Anglia Main Line, just to the North of Meridian Water station.
  • Go through the new Platform 1 at the station.
  • Continue through Northumberland Park station.
  • Join the new third track, between Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale.

This would allow Stratford and Liverpool Street trains to take separate routes to their respective terminals.

In the Meridian Water Station To Be Upgraded post, I said this.

Eight trains per hour (tph) in both directions calling at the station could be as follows.

  • Platform 1 – Two tph from Bishops Stortford to Stratford
  • Platform 2 – Two tph Meridian Water to Stratford
  • Platform 3 – Two tph from Hertford East to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 3 – One tph from Cambridge to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 3 – One tph from Cambridge North to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 4 – Two tph from Stratford to Bishops Stortford
  • Platform 4 – Two tph from Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • Platform 4 – One tph from Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • Platform 4 – One tph from Liverpool Street to Cambridge North

Four tph go to and from each of Stratford and Liverpool Street.

At Tottenham Hale, platforms would be as follows.

  • Platform 2 – Southbound Services to Stratford and two tph to Meridian Water.
  • Platform 3 – Southbound Services to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 4 – Northbound services going further than Meridian Water.

I am assuming that the missing Platform 1 and the fourth track through Tottenham Hale station will not be built in the short term, as doing this, would blow the available budget.


The shuttle is working and it will get better, with the addition of a fourth track between Meridian Water and Tottenham Hale.


September 10, 2019 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I do wonder if the Meridian Water to Stratford shuttle could be replaced with an extension of TFL Overground trains from Stratford thus creating new through routes across north London and would prove useful for north London Derby matches.

    One advantage of these upgrades is it is reducing the cost of Crossrail 2 in that this section of the route will have been upgraded re 4 tracking and step free Stations .

    Of course it’s likely that some of these services with Hertford East being a prime candidate for transfer to TFL London Overground in the medium term.

    Comment by Melvyn | September 10, 2019 | Reply

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