The Anonymous Widower

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is what Network Rail call the Stratford Regulating Point Extension.

The report explains it like this.

Capacity analysis for this study emphasised in its conclusions that the key to making the timetable work is the ability to hold trains in strategic locations in order to match capacity between the orbital lines and the radial routes in and out of London.

It therefore noted that holding capacity at Stratford for the longest freight trains (up to 775m) is essential, recommending that consideration is given to lengthening the Up Channelsea Loop at Lea Junction in particular.

The purpose of this scheme would be to provide a regulating point offering 775m standage for freight trains passing through Stratford towards the NLL, fully segregated from other traffic.

This would be achieved by extending the existing Up Channelsea Loop to the North-West, so that it can accommodate a 775m train clear of Stratford Central Junction.

This option offers combined capacity and train lengthening benefits, as the ability to regulate the longest trains at key interface points on the network increases the chances of finding them a compliant path through successive timetable structures as they pass from route to route.


  1. 775 metres is the longest train allowed on UK railways.
  2. Longer trains are an efficient way of moving freight and often mean less trains in total.
  3. It is extremely handy to have a place to park a train, to aid in keeping to the timetable.

This map from shows the Eastern end of the North London Line and the Up Channelsea Loop.


  1. The orange tracks are the North London Line and are used by the London Overground and freight trains.
  2. The Up Channelsea Loop to the South-West of the North London Line.
  3. The Up Channelsea Loop has connections to both directions of the Great Eastern Main Line at its South-Eastern end.
  4. Carpenters Road North junction would appear to connect Liverpool Street station to the High Meads curve, so that empty stock can be moved to and from the sidings at Orient Way.
  5. I would expect that any train waiting in the Up Channelsea Loop can’t overhang Carpenters Road North junction, as this would block the empty stock movements between Liverpool Street and Orient Way sidings.

This Google Map shows the South-Eastern end of the Up Channelsea Loop.


  1. The bridge over the tracks is the main access to the Olympic Park.
  2. I have arranged that the Up Channelsea Loop runs between the North-West and South-East corners of the map.
  3. The two tracks to access the Up Channelsea Loop join in the South-East corner of the map.
  4. The crossover to the North of the bridge is part of Carpenters Road North junction.

I would estimate that freight trains waiting in the Up Channelsea Loop can’t be closer than about thirty metres from the bridge.

This second Google Map shows what I suspect is the usable section of the Up Channelsea Loop.


  1. I have arranged the North-Western corner of the map over the buffer stops at the end of the Up Channelsea Loop.
  2. The South-Eastern corner is at the lower limit of the Up Channelsea Loop.
  3. I estimate that the usable length of the current Up Channelsea Loop is six hundred metres at most.

This third Google Map shows the Northern end of the Up Channelsea Loop.


  1. The crossover so trains can leave the Up Channelsea Loop in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. There is a red buffer stop on the end of the loop.

I feel they will certainly have to bridge the River Lea, if the Up Channelsea Loop is going to be lengthened to the North-West.

Perhaps this fourth Google Map, that shows a 3D view of the area from the West.


  1. Is there a tunnel under Marshgate Lane that can take three tracks.
  2. There could be space to extend the Up Channelsea Loop over the River Lea and alongside the long building, which is the Energy Centre for the site.
  3. There might even be a bit more space to create a fast exit from the Up Channelsea Loop.

If the Up Channelsea Loop is going to extend this far, then it looks like it has been planned for some time.

I took these pictures as I approached Stratford station.


  • The Up Channelsea Loop is the track furthest away to the right.
  • The red buffer stop can be picked out.
  • I started taking pictures alongside the Energy Centre.
  • I think that the short tunnel between the Energy Centre and the River Leacan handle three tracks.

It looks to me, that provision was made for lengthening the Up Channelsea Loop, when these tracks were laid.


I think it is going to be a tight fit to extend the Up Channelsea Loop by sufficient length to handle the longest freight trains.

But it should be possible.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 15 Comments