The Anonymous Widower

Stratford Station Secures Funding For Plans Set To Relieve Overcrowding

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Reduced congestion at London’s Stratford station is on the table as Network Rail secure a £2m boost from the Department for Transport.

Stratford Station has seen a surge in demand – despite the impact of the pandemic – ever since the 2012 Olympics, and the forecast for this is set to grow even more as the area continues to regenerate.

Something needs to be done as it is he busiest non-terminal station in London, that before the pandemic was handling over 42 million passengers per year.

Nothing specific is said, except that more space will be created for passengers with better wayfinding.

Although the article says that this could be a five year project.

The Current Station

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

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.

What Would I Do?

These are what I would like to see.

Better Information on the Overground Platforms

If I am returning from Stratford after doing some shopping at Eastfield, I will often climb up the stairs or rise in the lift to the two Overground platforms 1 and 2. I will often find two trains there, but there is no indication to say which will be the first train to leave.

Use Of The High Meads Loop

The High Meads Loop is a double-track loop at the Southern end of the branch of the West Anglia Main Line that leads to Stratford.

  • It is mainly underneath the Eastfield shopping centre.
  • It serves Platforms 11 and 12 in Stratford station.

As the single-track loop of the Wirral Line under Liverpool can handle up to sixteen trains per hour (tph), I believe that the High Meads Loop could be used as the Southern terminus for an improved service to Cambridge, Stansted Airport and up the Lea Valley to Cheshunt, Chingford, Harlow and Hertford East.

The signage from when Stratford had a Stansted Express service is still there and shown in this picture.



This is almost symptomatic of the chaotic nature of the station.

I get the impression from this sign, that one of the original design criteria of the High Meads Loop and the Overground platforms at Stratford for the North London Line was to create an easy route for the whole of North London to Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

Or is it just a symptom of Too Many Cooks Syndrome, where everybody had their own ideas and no-one took charge and designed Stratford station properly?

Let’s hope Network Rail are fully in charge, as this is not a project to interest Sadiq Khan, as it’s not in South London and that area of London won’t benefit.

A Better Connection Between Stratford Station And Southeastern HighSpeed Services

I have just looked up how it is recommended you might travel between Richmond and Faversham.

The timetable recommends a double-change at Clapham Junction and Victoria.

I would take the Overground to Stratford and then change to the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

  • This route is a single change.
  • The change is step-free.
  • The change involves passing the best station stop in the UK; Marks and Spencer’s large store in the Eastfield Shopping Centre, where takeaway food is well placed for passing trade.

But the change is badly signposted and could be a long walk with a heavy case.

There is probably a need for some form of people mover that connects all the platforms at Stratford station to the platforms at Stansted International station.


Sort it!




September 18, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. Richmond and Faversham via NLL, what made you dream that one up it’s not a solution any of the computerised route finders seem to offer.
    You could have taken the option of the District Line from Richmond to Victoria where there’s now step free access to the main station and South Eastern services to Faversham. The journey duration is about the same as your route.
    Seriously I do agree with you that coordination of the layout is still very much wanting at many UK interchanges, something that was originally brought home to me by Vienna’s example when my work took me there in the early/mid 1990s.

    Comment by fammorris | September 18, 2021 | Reply

    • An overground route may be less busy, and could well be cheaper.

      The TfL route planner doesn’t recommended the Overground into/out of Stratford as often as it should, even if you put in via stations (it will ignore or propose backtracks). E.g. St. John’s Wood to Stratford (via West Hampstead or Finch&Frog, starting on tube or bus).

      Also, there is the quirk that Overground is in national rail planner (and others).

      Comment by MilesT | September 19, 2021 | Reply

      • The TfL planner has got a lot worse lately.

        Comment by AnonW | September 19, 2021

  2. I just wanted a route that included lots of stations. It also includes mine and will include Old Oak Common when it opens.

    I could have chosen Heathrow to Faversham, if Crossrail were open.

    All the route finders have been downgraded lately and are riddled with adverts. I always used to use but that now gives me information I don’t want all the time.

    Comment by AnonW | September 18, 2021 | Reply

  3. I agree with the other posts.
    While looking for alternatives regarding timetables I remembered Barry Doe a mathematician who has been deeply involved in bus and rail timetables
    If you can make your way through the eccentricities of Barry’s website there’s a interesting reference to Fabric Digital who hope to have a live UK-wide Rail timetable by December.
    FabDigital seem to provide a lot of IT support to the train operating companies and Network Rail in the production of their online solutions. Have a look at their YouTube video.

    Comment by fammorris | September 19, 2021 | Reply

  4. A cheap short term improvement would be to provide more yellow validators on national rail platforms, or at least sign the existing ones better. For passengers interchanging between National Rail and Overground/Tube.

    Plenty of pink ones near the overground platforms, but you can’t use a pink to end a journey and using to start isn’t officially allowed (but does work apparently for Oyster /contactless, unsure about ITSO rail cards).

    Comment by MilesT | September 19, 2021 | Reply

    • There used to be a ticket machine on one platform, which I regularly used.

      The Germans often put a machine on a platform and we should do the same.

      Comment by AnonW | September 19, 2021 | Reply

      • Platform 9/10 does have yellow validators, and there is one in the subway, but neither are well signed or obvious.

        Comment by MilesT | September 19, 2021

  5. Regarding the Wirral Loop and 16 trains per hour.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, before the Link and the Loop, the Wirral trains terminated at Liverpool Central Low Level. As island platform with 2 faces – one arrival, one departure.

    The incoming train would arrive at the arrival platform, crew alight and cross to departure platform, a turnround crew board, train departs forwards (i.e. not back to James Street direction) into the reversing siding, no change of ends for the turnround crew, train reverses back into the departure platform, turnround crew alights, original crew boards and train departs. The points and signals for the reversing siding were automated. Time from arriving at the arrival platform to departing the departure platform was 2 minutes 30 seconds.

    At this time the peak time frequency was a train every 2 minutes 30 seconds in each direction – 24tph.

    The Bakerloo turnround at Elephant and Castle is a 2 platform terminus with a very high frequency.

    Comment by chilterntrev | September 22, 2021 | Reply

    • I remember the line at that time, as for about a term at Liverpool University, I lived in Birkenhead. Since it was rebuilt a few years ago, it is a top class underground railway.

      Comment by AnonW | September 22, 2021 | Reply

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