Stratford station

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Stratford National Rail London Underground London Overground Crossrail Docklands Light Railway
Stratford Regional[1]
Stratford (London)[2]
Stratford station (7028902411).jpg
The station's south entrance
Stratford is located in Greater London
Location of Stratford in Greater London
Location Stratford
Local authority London Borough of Newham
Managed by Transport for London[3]
Owner Network Rail[3]
Station code SRA
DfT category B
Number of platforms 19 (17 in use)
Accessible Yes [4][5]
Fare zone 3
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 Increase 48.57 million[6]
2012 Increase 50.96 million[6]
2013 Increase 54.50 million[6]
2014 Increase 59.31 million[6]
DLR annual boardings and alightings
2007–08 5.286 million[7]
2008–09 5.077 million[7]
2010–11 6.615 million[8]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2007–08 Increase 13.369 million[9]
2008–09 Decrease 12.330 million[9]
— interchange 1.143 million[9]
2009–10 Increase 12.370 million[9]
— interchange 1.383 million[9]
2010–11 Increase 17.479 million[9]
— interchange 1.659 million[9]
2011–12 Increase 21.797 million[9]
2012–13 Increase 25.564 million[9]
— interchange 3.671 million[9]
2013–14 Increase 26.378 million[9]
— interchange 5.000 million[9]
Key dates
1839 Opened by ECR
1946 Central line started
1987 DLR started
1999 Jubilee line started
2019 Crossrail due to start
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°32′32″N 0°00′12″W / 51.5422°N 0.0033°W / 51.5422; -0.0033

Stratford is a major multilevel interchange station serving the district of Stratford in the London Borough of Newham, east London. It is served by the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and is also a National Rail station on the Great Eastern Main Line, 3 miles 4 chains (4.9 km) down-line from Liverpool Street.

On the Underground it is a through-station on the Central line and is the eastern terminus of the Jubilee line; on the DLR it is a terminus for some trains and for others it is a through-station preceding Stratford International. On the Overground it is the terminus of a branch following Hackney Wick; on the main line it is served by TfL Rail stopping services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, and by medium- and longer-distance services operated by Abellio Greater Anglia to and from numerous destinations in the East of England. There is also a limited service operated by c2c connecting to the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. From 2019 the full Crossrail service will replace TfL Rail, linking Stratford to other stations in central London as well as Reading and Heathrow Airport.

The station was opened in 1839 by the Eastern Counties Railway. Today it is owned by Network Rail and is situated within London fare zone 3, although it will move to the zone 2/3 boundary in January 2016.[10] To distinguish it from Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire it is sometimes referred to as Stratford (London),[2] or as Stratford Regional to differentiate it from Stratford International, which is some 1,210 feet (370 m) to the north.[1] Stratford served as a key travel hub for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London.[11]


Early days: 1839–62[edit]

Stratford Junction pictured in 1851

Stratford station was opened on 20 June 1839 by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) with the first station building being located on Angel Lane which crossed the line on an over-bridge to the east of the station. The Northern and Eastern Railway opened a section of its authorised line from Broxbourne to join the ECR at Stratford on 15 September 1840.[12] As well as a station, a railway works was built adjacent to the line to Broxbourne. This and the engine shed later expanded into the area to the west of the station which is now occupied by a shopping centre and Stratford International station.

The ECR tracks were originally set to a gauge of 5 ft (1,524 mm) on the recommendation of engineer John Braithwaite. At this time there was no legislation dictating the choice of gauge and indeed the directors favoured the Great Western Railway's broad gauge 7 ft (2,134 mm). Braithwaite persuaded the directors otherwise on the grounds of additional cost but recommended the 5 ft gauge in an effort to reduce wear on locomotive parts. This choice meant that the Northern & Eastern Railway who were planning to share the ECR line between Stratford and Bishopsgate were forced to adopt the same gauge.[13]

With the extension of the ECR in the early 1840s it became apparent that standard gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) was a more realistic choice and subsequently between September and October 1844 the gauge conversion was carried out. At the same time the associated Northern & Eastern Railway was also converted.

New station buildings were built in 1847 replacing the original structure on Angel Road. These were located in the V between the Cambridge and Colchester lines and access was via Station Road.[14]

The line through the low level platforms first opened in 1846 as a goods only branch as far as Thames Wharf. The bridge under the main line was too low for many locomotives, so a number of engines were equipped with hinged chimneys in order they could operate the line.[15] On opening there was also a line that linked what is now known as the Great Eastern Main Line directly to the docks enabling through running from Colchester to Thames Wharf. The docks and associated railway networks expanded with passenger services to North Woolwich starting in 1847.[16]

There was an accident at Stratford station on 18 July 1846 when an up goods train ran into the back of a passenger train from Ipswich. There were 10 passengers seriously injured one of whom later died.[17]

In 1854 the newly opened London Tilbury and Southend Railway served Stratford joining the main line at Forest Gate Junction a few miles north. Their services generally served Fenchurch Street and were routed via the Bow Road route (although that station was not opened at this time) although some carriages were detached at Stratford for onward working to Bishopsgate. This practice was discontinued in 1856 as passengers preferred the more conveniently sited (for the City) Fenchurch Street.

In connection with the introduction of the new LTSR services a third line was built from Stratford to Bow Junction which was used by down Fenchurch Street services and a new platform face opened.[18]

It soon became apparent that congestion was a problem at Stratford and by 1856 permission was sought to build a line from Barking to Gas Factory Junction (Bow) which was opened in 1858. After that LTSR trains were no longer routed via Stratford.[19]

By 1855 there were links from both the low and high-level stations to the North London Line as well as a spur that enabled trains from Liverpool Street to North Woolwich to avoid Stratford altogether (although this served Stratford Market station) which was a short distance away. Services from the North London line normally started from Victoria Park and ran through to Stratford Market. This service operated from 1866 until 1874 and was operated by the GER and North London Railway in alternate years up until 31 October 1874.[20]

Services to Loughton commenced on 22 August 1856 and used the Lea Valley platforms, leaving the main line at Loughton Branch Junction half a mile north of Stratford. Initially nine trains per day operated to Fenchurch Street (Bishopsgate on Sundays) on this route.[21]

By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the ECR; they wished to amalgamate formally, but could not obtain government agreement for this until 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway was formed by amalgamation. Thus Stratford became a GER station in 1862.[22]

Great Eastern Railway: 1862–1923[edit]

The Loughton branch was extended to Ongar on 24 April 1865 and by 1874 there were a total of 40 trains each day (10 terminating at Loughton, 18 at Epping and 12 at Ongar) with most serving the newly opened Liverpool Street although a few peak hour services continued to serve Fenchurch Street.[23]

Even after LTSR services were routed away from Stratford in 1858 working was intense. Following an accident in 1866 the accident report noted that "Stratford needs complete re-arranging, extending and fitting with modern improvements for working points and signals, as in its present state it appears to be quite insufficient for the traffic that passes through it". Although one of the signal boxes had interlocking fitted soon after, the poor state of GER finances saw little further work until 1877 when a significant rebuilding of Stratford took place.

The 1877 rebuilding saw a number of changes made which were:

  • A fourth line was added from Bow Junction to Stratford;
  • Western Junction (where a spur to towards the Woolwich line existed along with various crossovers) was moved further west;
  • New Goods lines added on the down (north) side of the line between Western Junction and the Cambridge line platforms – changes made at Central Junction to accommodate these;
  • New Goods lines between Western Junction and Maryland Point signal box (west of the current 2015 Maryland station);
  • Eastern curve (which allowed up goods trains from the main line to directly access the low level line towards the docks) was re-aligned; and
  • New signal boxes at Eastern, Central and Western Junctions.

During 1886 and 1887 improvements were made to the station buildings and the canopies extended.[24]

On 26 December 1886 a train was derailed at Stratford station as facing points had not been properly locked into position. Fortunately there was no loss of life.[25]

By 1889 traffic on the GER had grown to such an extent, that quadrupling the section from Bethnal Green to Bow Junction and from Maryland Point-Romford was proposed. Once again significant changes which were implemeted between 1891 and 1893 and included:

  • Two additional lines from Bow Junction resulting in six tracks in total (named Up and Down Local,Up and Down Through and Up and Down Fenchurch Street);
  • To accommodate these the Up and Down Fenchurch Street lines were slewed to the south of the formation;
  • The 1877 signal boxes at Western, Central and Eastern Junctions were all replaced between 1891 and 1893; and
  • Carpenters Road curve added at this time (Western Junction to Carpenters Road Junction) [26]

In 1896 the low-level line was lowered under the main line so locomotives no longer required hinged chimneys.[15]

By July 1897 it was apparent that the decision not to include platforms on both Through lines was causing some operational difficulty. To address this a new platform serving the Up Through line was opened in 1900.

The Fairlop Loop opened on 1 May 1903 and services generally ran as an out and back circle from either Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street. The routing of these services was Liverpool Street – Stratford – Ilford – Fairlop Loop – Woodford – Stratford – Liverpool Street) and Liverpool Street – Stratford – Woodford – Fairlop Loop – Ilford – Stratford – Liverpool Street in the reverse direction.[27]

Railway lines around Stratford in 1914

On 1 January 1923 the GER became part of the London & North Eastern Railway.

London and North Eastern Railway: 1923–47[edit]

By the 1930s electric tramways were taking a lot of traffic from the railway and proposals were drawn up to electrify the lines from Liverpool Street to Shenfield using the 1500v DC system. By 1938 the major contracts were let and work started. Despite the commencement of World War 2 in 1939 work continued on the scheme but the scheme was postponed in late 1940. In February 1946 the LNER announced work would recommence. On 5 October 1946 the new interchange platforms with the Central Line (see below) were opened.[28]

Central Line services started on 4 December 1946, extended from Liverpool Street station in new tunnels after being delayed due to the Second World War. The line was further extended to Leyton on 5 May 1947 and then to the former Great Eastern Railway branch lines to Epping, Ongar and Hainault progressively until 1957. Prior to this date trains to and from Epping and Ongar had used the currently numbered platforms 11 and 12 and diverged from the Broxbourne line about half a mile north of the station. Trains for the Hainault loop used either these platforms or the currently numbered platform 5 (up) or 8 (down) diverging from the Great Eastern Main Line at a junction between Ilford and Seven Kings which has since been redeveloped as part of the Ilford Carriage sheds.

British Railways: 1948–96[edit]

A Thompson B1 4-6-0 passes Stratford station in April 1958
Rail Tour at Stratford Station in 1951

The nationalisation of Britain's railways saw the operation of Stratford station pass to British Railways Eastern Region. The electric service to Shenfield was inaugurated on 26 September 1949 but services were run to steam timings with a number of steam trains still operating. The full electric service officially commenced on 7 November 1949 (although a full dummy run had taken place the previous day). Two days earlier services to Fenchurch Street via Bow Road were withdrawn.[29]

On 8 April 1953 a collision occurred in the Central Line tunnels just to the east of Stratford station.[30][31]

The Docklands Light Railway opened on 31 August 1987 reusing redundant rail routes through the Bow and Poplar areas to reach the new Docklands developments on the Isle of Dogs. Initially the line used one of the south facing bays which had been built for the Fenchurch street via Bow Road service (but never used).

Privatisation era: 1996–present[edit]

The low-level station was substantially rebuilt in the late 1990s as part of the Jubilee Line Extension works, with a large new steel and glass building designed by Wilkinson Eyre that encloses much of the low-level station, and a new ticket hall. The old ticket hall, at the eastern end of the station and connected via a subway, has since been demolished. The Jubilee Line opened to passengers on 14 May 1999 as far as North Greenwich station, and to Green Park and Stanmore in November 1999.[32]

In April 2009 the North London Line platforms at Stratford moved to newly built high-level platforms 1 & 2 from the original low-level platforms 1 & 2, freeing the old platforms for the DLR's Stratford International service which opened in August 2011. After rebuilding the old platforms reopened as platforms 16 and 17.

With the great increase in services and passengers since the Second World War, Stratford has changed from a fairly busy junction into one of Britain's major rail interchanges. Growth is set to continue in the future with the opening of the Crossrail line across London and the stopping of international services at nearby Stratford International station (in 2014 this is only served by domestic services).

Station layout[edit]

A 360° view taken in October 2005 of the canopy structure housing the ticket hall. The high-level station is through the windows in the centre, the low-level station is on the right, with the gates to the Jubilee line (now removed) on the far left.
The same view in August 2008. Note the new DLR platforms on the left, and the additional westbound Central line platform under construction through the windows in the left-centre.

High-level platforms[edit]

Stratford stations
Stratford International  HS1
Stratford (high level) NLL
HL  Lea Valley Lines
HL Central line
HL DLR via Poplar
Stratford (low level)
Stratford High Street (ex-Stratford Market)
DLR via Canning Town
Jubilee line

The high-level platforms run at right angles to the low-level, roughly east-west. The Docklands Light Railway serving platforms 16 and 17 passes beneath the high-level station. Except for platforms 4A and 4B, access from the main station entrance is via subways, one of which links the Jubilee line platforms directly to platforms 3 and 5 to 10. Another subway, which had served the old entrance to the station, was re-opened in September 2010.[33]

  • Platforms 1 and 2 are used by the London Overground's North London Line. They comprise an island platform with a step-free link to platform 12 and the subways linking to platforms 3 to 11.[34] The platforms can accommodate trains with up to six carriages, though at present, due to short platforms elsewhere, shorter trains are used.
  • Platforms 3, 3A and 6 are used by the Central line, which rise from their tunnels onto the overground here and then immediately descend back underground upon departure from Stratford. Platforms 3 and 6 are island platforms providing cross-platform interchange with the local "Shenfield metro" trains operating from platforms 5 and 8 respectively, while platform 3A has a direct step-free connection at mezzanine level, facilitating easier interchange with Jubilee line trains on platforms 13 to 15 and DLR trains on platforms 4A and 4B. Westbound Central line trains travelling towards central London open doors on both sides so that passengers can alight and board trains from either side, reducing dwell times and peak-hour congestion in the passageways.
  • Platforms 4 and 7 are disused. When the main line to Shenfield was electrified in the 1940s there was an intention to run a shuttle service from Fenchurch Street to Stratford, calling at Stepney (now Limehouse) and Bow Road, which would have terminated at these bay platforms. However, this service was never introduced (despite all the works required being carried out). From the 1980s platform 4 was used as the terminus of the DLR while platform 7 remained abandoned. In 2007 platform 4 was abandoned again as the DLR moved to two new platforms to the south of platform 4, though these are signposted as "platform 4" within the station.
  • Platforms 4A and 4B (signposted as "platform 4") are used by the DLR for services to Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Lewisham. They are formed of an island platform, and are not accessed by the subways but through a separate entrance on the upper level of the main concourse.
  • Platforms 5 and 8 are used by TfL Rail stopping "metro" services on the electric line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. They may also be used by some Abellio Greater Anglia-operated main line trains to and from Southend Victoria. A limited number of early morning, late evening and night-time c2c trains call each weekday on the way to or from Liverpool Street connecting to or from the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway via Barking. Cross-platform interchange is available with the Central line running from platforms 3 and 6 respectively.
  • Platforms 9, 10 and 10A are used by Abellio Greater Anglia services on the main line out of Liverpool Street towards Norwich and intermediate stations and branch lines. Originally there were only two platforms here, but in the 1990s the station buildings on platform 9 were demolished to make an island platform with faces on both sides. The new face became number 9, the former 9 became 10, and the previous platform 10 became 10A.
  • Platforms 11 and 12 are used for the limited Abellio Greater Anglia services to Bishop's Stortford that start from Stratford. There is currently a half-hourly service Mondays to Saturdays, with additional services to and from Hertford East, Harlow Town, Broxbourne or Cambridge in the peak hours with a half-hourly service to Hertford East on Sundays. A limited service also operates between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town and Cheshunt via Stratford on Saturdays only operated by London Overground.[35]

Low-level platforms[edit]

These platforms are at ground level and run north-south. Platforms 13 to 16 are served by a footbridge (with lifts and escalators) from the main station entrance, while platform 17 adjoins directly onto the main station concourse.

  • Platforms 13 to 15 were built in the late 1990s to serve the Jubilee line when it was extended to Stratford in 1999. All three are bay platforms.[36] A footbridge joins the platforms at the southern end, away from the main station building.
  • Platforms 16 and 17 (previously platforms 1 and 2 until 2009) originally served trains from Palace Gates in north London to North Woolwich, but this service has since been discontinued. In the 1980s, trains from Richmond to Broad Street were diverted to run via these platforms to North Woolwich. Following the closure of the line to North Woolwich in 2006, these effectively became terminus platforms, with trains departing westbound only towards Richmond. They are now used by DLR services: platform 16 is for northbound trains to Stratford International and platform 17 is for southbound trains to Beckton during off-peak times and Woolwich Arsenal during peak hours.[34][37] The new platforms have also been built with a reversing siding immediately to the south, accessible from both running lines. This enables trains from Stratford International to terminate at Stratford (Regional) and trains from Canning Town to also terminate here. There is also a crossover immediately to the north, allowing trains from the southbound platform to reverse onto the northbound line back to Stratford International.


Different platform signage, clockwise from top left: on London Overground platforms, Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee line, and main line Abellio Greater Anglia

The typical off-peak service of trains per hour (tph) is as follows:

Operator/line Frequency to destination
London Underground
Central line
9 tph to Ealing Broadway
9 tph to West Ruislip
3 tph to Northolt
3 tph to White City
6 tph to Hainault via Newbury Park
3 tph to Newbury Park
3 tph to Woodford via Hainault
9 tph to Epping
3 tph to Loughton
London Underground
Jubilee line
12 tph to Stanmore
4 tph to Wembley Park
4 tph to Willesden Green
Abellio Greater Anglia 7 tph (+ 1 tph to set down only) to Liverpool Street
3 tph to Southend Victoria
2 tph to Bishop's Stortford
1 tph to Norwich
1 tph to Braintree
1 tph to Clacton-on-Sea
1 tph to Colchester Town
1 tph to Ipswich
TfL Rail 6tph to Liverpool Street
6tph to Shenfield
London Overground 4 tph to Richmond
2 tph to Clapham Junction
c2c Limited services to Barking
Limited service to Grays and Shoeburyness
Limited services to London Liverpool Street
Limited service to/from London Fenchurch Street (starting at Stratford)
Docklands Light Railway 6 tph to Canary Wharf via Poplar
6 tph to Stratford International
6 tph to Woolwich Arsenal via London City Airport


All lines at Stratford are electrified, although a few passenger and freight services which pass through this station are hauled by diesel locomotives. At one time there were four different systems of electrification in use, a record for any station in London. However, since the diversion of the North London Line from the low-level to the new high-level platforms these trains have changed the electrical system they use while at this station. The remaining systems used are:

In 1949 the Great Eastern Main Line through Stratford was electrified at 1500 V dc overhead before being converted to 6.25 kV AC 50 Hz overhead in 1960 and converted again to 25 kV in about 1976.[38]

Nearby facilities[edit]

Goods facilities[edit]

There were three primary goods facilities in the Stratford area in the steam age, although the nearby Stratford Works and engine shed generated their own traffic. A short distance to the north of Stratford station (on the line to Cambridge) there were marshalling yards at Temple Mills. There was a small goods yard situated north of the station on the eastern side of the line which occupied a constrained site. The mainstay of traffic was domestic coal although shortly before closure in the 1960s the site was used as a reception point for concrete components for the building of tower blocks in Newham.[39]

There was a small depot at Carpenters Road about a quarter of a mile south of Stratford station. Opened in 1900, the depot consisted of four long sidings and primarily dealt with coal and building materials. It was closed on 7 December 1964.[40]

There was a large depot at Stratford Market railway station. All of these three facilities were operated by the Great Eastern Railway up until 1923 before being taken over by the London & North Eastern Railway until nationalisation in 1948 when they became part of British Railways Eastern Region.

There was also a goods terminal at Bow operated by the Midland Railway which is still open today mostly for building materials. This yard operated as the terminal for building materials for the adjacent Olympics site.[41]

Between Stratford and Maryland stations Windmill Lane cattle pens existed on the down side of the line whilst four private sidings belonging to Young & Martens were located on the up side.

During the 1960s part of the Stratford Works site was converted to the London International Freight Terminal (LIFT) which opened in 1967 and there was a freight liner terminal that operated on the far side of the Stratford railway complex (on the Channelsea Loop line). The former site is now occupied by the international station and shopping centre.[42]

Stratford International[edit]

The nearby Stratford International station opened on 30 November 2009 (for preview services only). Since 13 December 2009 Southeastern began its full domestic high-speed service between London St Pancras, directly to Ebbsfleet International[43] and Ashford in Kent. The Docklands Light Railway 'Stratford International' extension has provided a link between the two stations since 31 August 2011.[44] There is also a walking route between the two stations passing through the newly built Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre.

Despite Stratford International's name, no international trains call there, and Eurostar (currently the only international operator) has no plans to do so. Passengers instead interconnect on high-speed trains travelling to either London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet in Kent, there are a number of other potential operators that may use the station for international services. These include Deutsche Bahn's proposed London-Frankfurt/Amsterdam service[45] and the proposed "Transmanche Metro" service to Calais via local stations.[46]

Stratford City[edit]

Main article: Stratford City

In preparation for the Olympics and the Stratford City development, a new north-facing exit and ticket hall has been built. Both existing passenger subways have been extended north to connect with the ticket hall, and the abandoned subway at the eastern end of the station, which formed part of the old station complex, has been reopened and refurbished to allow interchange between platforms 3–12 and the new high-level platforms 1 & 2.[47] A new pedestrian bridge has also been built to connect Stratford shopping centre with the Stratford City development. This also connects the mezzanine-level ticket hall with the northern one. The northern ticket hall and the footbridge opened along with Westfield Stratford City on 13 September 2011.

Bus stations[edit]

Stratford bus station on the right

Stratford bus station is to the south of the station and Stratford City bus station is to the north. Both are served by bus services right across London and to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


Abellio Greater Anglia plans to re-open the station at Lea Bridge between Stratford and Tottenham Hale. As of July 2013, construction was due to start shortly and was expected to be complete by late 2015.[48]

c2c has a proposal to send 2tph to London Liverpool Street on weekends, starting in December 2015 in the new timetable.[49][50]

A service between Stratford and Angel Road (referred to as STAR) could be up and running by December 2015. This is to serve the planned development around Angel Road and give a more frequently service to Stratford.

Stansted Express may call at Stratford by 2019 via the West Anglia Main Line, reconnecting the two to each other.[51]

The station will also become a major interchange for Crossrail services, due to commence in full in 2019.[52] The precursor TfL Rail took over current high-frequency Shenfield "metro" services in May 2015. The future route will link Stratford via new tunnels to Heathrow Airport and Reading.


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  51. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External links[edit]


Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Central line
towards Epping, Hainault
or Woodford (via Hainault)
towards Stanmore
Jubilee line Terminus
Preceding station   DLR no-text roundel.svg DLR   Following station
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Docklands Light Railway
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