The Anonymous Widower

It’s Time To Detopsify Stratford Station

Stratford Station has grown like Topsy for too long and has several problems and possible future expansions.

Not least of these include.

  • The final arrival of Crossrail.
  • A direct connection to Chingford.
  • A Stansted Express service.
  • Massive housing developments in the area.
  • More hotels
  • New cultural developments like the branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • A new campus for University College London.

This article on IanVisits is entitled Stratford Station Set For Massive Transformation.

This is his opening paragraph.

Stratford station could be radically redeveloped under plans being worked on by the rail companies and local council.

That is rather understated!

The station will become several times busier and needs a complete rethink, many more services and deTopsification.

These are my thoughts.

The Development Of The High Meads Loop

The High Meads Loop exists and is a double-track loop that can turn trains arriving at Stratford station via Lea Bridge station.

  • It is underneath the Eastfield Shopping Centre – Westfield is in the West of London.
  • Each track of the loop has its own long platform in the station. – Platform 11 is for clockwise trains and Platform 12 is for anti-clockwise.
  • It has been used in the past for a Stansted Express service.

The Wirral Line in Liverpool like the High Meads Loop is now a modern loop for turning trains.

  • The Wirral Loop is only single-track.
  • It gives connections for over thirty stations on the Wirral and in Cheshire and North Wales to Liverpool City Centre.
  • It is run by fifty-year-old Class 507 and Class 508 trains.
  • The loop has now been improved and can handle upwards of the fourteen trains per hour (tph) it currently does.

Merseyrail will soon be introducing new Class 777 trains on the Wirral Line in the near future and will be increasing services and the number of destinations.

British Rail’s vision for Liverpool, that was cruelly cut-short by Liverpool MP; Harold Wilson, is finally coming to fruition.

Newcastle also got its British Rail tunnel which is now being used by the Metro, but what would have happened in Manchester if British Rail had been allowed to build the Picc-Vic Tunnel?

I have a strong belief, that a Lea Valley Metro can be developed on the West Anglia Main Line.

  • It would have two Southern terminals – Liverpool Street station and the High Meads Loop at Stratford.
  • When it opens, Crossrail will mean that Liverpool Street and Stratford stations will be seven or eight minutes apart with a frequency of at least 12 tph.
  • Northern terminals would include Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Chingford, Enfield Town and Hertford East.
  • Crossrail 2 was planned to have a frequency of 10 and 15 tph between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

I believe that if services in East London are thoroughly reorganised, that all the benefits of Crossrail 2 can be brought to East London by the use of the High Meads Loop and the upgrading of existing lines.

Stansted Express Services

Go to Stratford station and there is an out-of-date sign at the end of Platform 1 and 2, where the Overground trains terminate.

It directs passengers to Platform 12 for Stansted Airport.

The picture was taken in 2017, but there is still a walk-through to Platform 12, that I use regularly, if I’m changing between London Overground and Greater Anglia or TfL Rail services to destinations on both the West Anglia or Great Eastern Main Lines.

I believe that there is still a need for a Stansted Express services from Stratford, as for some people, including myself, it is easier to get to Stratford, than Liverpool Street.

From some places the connections to and from Stansted are not very good. Try going between London Bridge, Canterbury, Euston, Victoria or Waterloo and Stansted with a few mobility issues like a heavy suitcase and/or a baby, without a degree in Ducking-and-Diving!

An additional Stansted Express service from Stratford would make things a lot easier to get to the airport for many travellers, because of Stratford’s connections to the Central, Jubilee and North London Lines and SouthEastern’s Highspeed services.

Better Connection Between High Speed One And The High Meads Loop For Passengers

Some passenger connections are missing at Stratford.

This is indicated in the IanVisits article.

This map from shows the Topsy-like nature of the platforms at Stratford.


  1. The Docklands Light Railway is shown in turquoise.
  2. The DLR platforms in the North-West corner of the map are those of Stratford International station.
  3. High Speed One and the four platforms of Stratford International station are shown in black.
  4. The North London Line of the London Overground is shown in orange.
  5. The North London Line terminates in Platforms 1 and 2, which have a level link to Platform 12.
  6. Platform 12 is on the anti-clockwise platform for the High Meads Loop and has step-free access to the subway system underneath the station.
  7. Platform 11 is on the clockwise platform for the High Meads Loop and has level access to Platform 10a and full step-free access,
  8. Platform 10a is used by some services to East Anglia.
  9. Crossrail is shown in blue.
  10. The Central Line is shown in red.
  11. The Jubilee Line is shown in silver.

It is not the best passenger-friendly station layout.

  • Inevitability, you often find yourself trudging a long way at Stratford station.
  • Changing to or from any high speed services is supremely difficult.
  • Often you have to walk through the busy Eastfield Shopping Centre.

Particularly annoying for me is coming back from Kent on High Speed One and needing to take the North London Line, as I do several times a year.

As it involves a long walk through the Shopping Centre, I now take the easy way out and carry on to St. Pancras and get a taxi home.

As Stratford International is one of the draughtiest stations in England, the station is a real Design Crime and it needs a serious makeover.


Sort it!








May 16, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Have found the distance between Stratford and Stratford International pretty tedious as well.

    On the subject of an additional Overground stop at Stratford International next to the DLR, would it be more feasible for the NLL to run services from it towards Chingford or for Chingford services to run from Stratford via a new route?

    Rather unfortunate the Overground terminus at Stratford platform’s 1 and 2 cannot be extended any further northwards, the same goes with planners not having the foresight to connect the DLR termini at Stratford and Stratford International via some viaduct to prevent the latter being largely isolated.

    Comment by Al | May 16, 2021 | Reply

    • The plan is to reinstate the Hall Farm Curve, so that rains can go from James Street to Lea Bridge. Trains would turn in the High Meads Loop under Eastfield. The problem is the level crossing at Highams Park, but then that area is a basket case for traffic according to a friend, who used to manage the 212 bus. There are also hopes for two new stations on the Chingford Branch.

      Comment by AnonW | May 17, 2021 | Reply

      • To clarify referring to the Stratford portion of the route when you mean under Eastfield (Westfield Stratford?), do you mean to say the plan is to basically create a Stratford loop of sorts towards Chingford via High Meads Loop (includes possible stop at Stratford International) before going onto Stratford’s platforms 12 and 11 or for the NLL to be diverted at Stratford from platforms 1/2 to 12/11?

        Comment by Al | May 17, 2021

  2. I agree entirely with your High Meads Loop solution to provide a ‘metro’ service and would be a far, far cheaper solution to routing crossrail 2 along this way, but providing the same, if not better, level of capacity (it would also eliminate the chance of any trains breaking down in south west London commuter belt, having major repurcussions in north east London) . Had they had the foresight to 4 track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water, rather than tinker around with a three track, pracitically everything would be in place bar a couple level crossings, and an extra platform or two. Make it so!

    Comment by PJS | May 17, 2021 | Reply

    • Passive provision was made for a fourth track and also a fourth platform at Meridian Water.

      Comment by JohnC | May 17, 2021 | Reply

  3. How about international trains actually stop in Stratford International?

    Ah but the Home Office and HMRC simply will NOT conduct formalities on the trains, so instead we have a mis-named white elephant.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | May 17, 2021 | Reply

    • The average high-level civil servant believes the East End is a hell- hole and should be left to go to hell by itself. The nearest to the area they ever get is at a black tie male-only function in the City.

      I am old enough to have gone train-spotting at the massive Stratford depot, which is now under the Olympic Park.

      Did the ghosts of all those steam-locomotives power British athletes to gold in 2012?

      It is a crime, that Fury v Joshua is taking place in Saudi Arabia.

      It should take place outdoors at the Olympic Stadium.

      Comment by AnonW | May 17, 2021 | Reply

  4. The plan is diagrammatic – not to scale – so the long trek from the main concourse to the trains to the Kent is not evident . The DLR alternative is not exactly obvious. . Escalators are required to improve access to/from platforms 3,6 and 9. Not sure why Stansted Express service is not routed via Stratford platforms 11 and 12. Perhaps container freights from Felixstowe on their way to Willesden have taken up any potential paths across Central Junction East.. See You Tube for such a service recording made recently.

    Comment by Thomas Carr | May 17, 2021 | Reply

  5. Replying to AI – The trains from the West Anglia Main Line would turn under Eastfield, just like the Stansted Expresses used to do.

    That loop could easily handle 24 tph with 12 expresses going through Platform 12 and twelve local services through Platform 11.

    It would be like Liverpool’s Wirral Line under Liverpool City Centre with two single-track lines in opposite directions, instead of just Liverpool’s single-track loop.

    Comment by AnonW | May 17, 2021 | Reply

    • Understand now, not quite what was envisioning though can see the rationale behind it.

      Could the West Anglia Main Line Loop at Stratford and Overground Stratford to Chingford / etc schemes conceivably run alongside each other from the High Meads Loop up to Hall Farm Curve at some point or are they mutually exclusive?

      Comment by Al | May 17, 2021 | Reply

  6. […] is an extract from It’s Time To Detopsify Stratford Station, which was a previous look at Stratford station in May this […]

    Pingback by Stratford Station Secures Funding For Plans Set To Relieve Overcrowding « The Anonymous Widower | September 18, 2021 | Reply

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