Lea Valley Lines
|Lea Valley Lines|
An Abellio Greater Anglia train at White Hart Lane.
|Type||Commuter rail, Suburban rail|
East of England
London Liverpool Street
|Owner||Network Rail (Anglia Route)|
|Operator(s)||Abellio Greater Anglia|
Sidings at Chingford
|Rolling stock||Class 315
Class 379 "Electrostar"
|No. of tracks||2-4|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||25 kV 50hz AC Overhead lines|
|Operating speed||Below 75 mph (121 km/h)|
The Lea Valley Lines are three commuter lines and two branches in North East London, so named because they run along the Lower Lea Valley of the River Lea. They were part of the Great Eastern Railway, now part of the Anglia Route of Network Rail.
The first section was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) on 20 June 1839 from the London end at Devonshire Street to Romford, extended on 1 July 1840 to Bishopsgate (London end) and Brentwood. The Northern and Eastern Railway (N&ER) opened its first section from that line at Stratford to Broxbourne on 15 September 1840, and to Harlow in 1841; though it remained a separate entity, its line was leased to the ECR from 1 January 1844. A branch from Broxbourne to Hertford opened in 1843.
Enfield was reached on 1 March 1849 by the single-line Enfield Town branch from the N&ER at Angel Road via Lower Edmonton. The ECR was incorporated into the Great Eastern Railway (GER) in 1862. A shorter route to Edmonton was provided by the GER in 1872, from Bethnal Green via Hackney Downs and Stoke Newington, which opened on 27 May; the section via Seven Sisters and Lower Edmonton, at a new high-level station provided adjacent to the old low-level station, opened on 22 July. The line from there to Enfield was doubled at the same time. The old line between Angel Road and Lower Edmonton was closed to passenger trains in 1939, except for occasional diversionary traffic including the period in the 1950s when the rest of the local network was being electrified; the line closed completely in 1964 and the track was removed soon after.
Another branch, the Chingford Branch Line, went from Lea Bridge to Walthamstow, Shern Hall Street, in 1870, extended southwards to Hackney Downs in 1872 and northwards to Chingford in 1873.
The final section linked Lower Edmonton on the Enfield branch via Churchbury (later Southbury) with the Broxbourne line at Cheshunt, opening on 1 October 1891; it was known as the Churchbury loop until the renaming of that station in 1960, then the Southbury loop.
Route and services
The routes are:
- Southbury Loop (or Cheshunt Branch): London Liverpool Street - Cheshunt via Seven Sisters, Edmonton Green and Turkey Street, along the West Anglia Main Line to Hackney Downs Junction, rejoining it at Cheshunt Junction.
- Chingford Branch: London Liverpool Street - Chingford via Walthamstow Central, Wood Street and Highams Park, along the West Anglia Main Line to Clapton Junction.
- Enfield Town Branch: London Liverpool Street - Enfield Town via Seven Sisters, Edmonton Green and Bush Hill Park, alongthe West Anglia Main Line to Hackney Downs and the Southbury Loop to Edmonton Green and Edmonton Green Junction.
- Hertford East Branch: London Liverpool Street - Hertford East via Tottenham Hale, Broxbourne and Ware, along the West Anglia Main Line to Broxbourne and Rye House Junction, then the Hertford East Branch Line.
- Temple Mills Branch: Stratford - Tottenham Hale via Lea Bridge (closed), diverging from the Great Eastern Main Line and the North London Line at Temple Mills East Junction, joining the West Anglia Main Line at Coppermill Junction.
A minor service runs from the Seven Sisters branch to Stratford via the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the West Anglia Main Line. This is one of only two places on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line where it is electrified.
The line is double track for most of its length, with some multitrack between Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street - the Suburban Lines for trains stopping at Cambridge Heath and London Fields and the Main Lines for non-stop West Anglia/Stansted Express services. It is electrified at 25 kV AC using overhead line equipment and has a line speed of 40-75 mph except between Cheshunt and Coppermill junction where it is 60-85 mph. Different sections have different loading gauges. Most is W8, with the branches to Enfield Town and Chingford being W6 and the branch to Stratford W9.
Following the expansion of the London Overground network in December 2012, TfL expressed its intention to operate other suburban lines, including the West Anglian suburban routes: Liverpool Street to Enfield, Chingford, Cheshunt and Hertford East.
In late June 2013, as part of the 2013 Spending Review, the Greater London Authority confirmed that Chancellor George Osborne gave the commitment for the Seven Sisters and Chingford lines to be taken over by TfL by the end of 2015.
The Tottenham Hale-West Anglian route is planned to become part of Crossrail 2 to Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Hertford East.
- White, H.P. (1987). Thomas, David St John, ed. A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain — Volume 3: Greater London (3rd ed.). Dawlish: David & Charles.
- "The Case for a Chingford to Stratford Rail Service". London Borough of Waltham Forest. Retrieved 2012-10-01. See also Greater Anglia Route Utilisation Strategy.
- "Route 5 - West Anglia". Network Rail. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-26.