[The photo of above gives an impressive view of all the new railway infrastructure at Stratford – from Bow Midland Road construction yard and DLR Pudding Mill Lane in the south, to the missing Hall Farm Curve via the Eurostar Depot and Olympic Way sidings and finally to the Walthamstow Arches in the north. It was taken from an RAF Merlin Helicopter door so no reflection off a glass window. Many thanks to Thomas Pringle for granting us permission to use it. – MWB]

The brand new platform at Stratford Regional (as opposed to Stratford International) station has opened on the Central line. Platform 3a, in use since Sunday 5th September, is one part of the preparations made at the station ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Now, when westbound trains arrive at the station, doors open on both sides. Passengers can exit to the right for National Rail services that include National Express East Anglia and London Overground; and to the left for the Jubilee line, the Docklands Light Railway and the Way Out.

Richard Parry, Strategy and Commercial Director for London Underground, said:

Stratford station will be a major gateway for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The design of this new Central line platform will make it easier for customers to change onto other lines or leave this busy station more quickly now and during the London 2012 Games.

The platform was funded by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and is intended to reduce delays and overcrowding before, during and after the Games.Before the new platform opened, the Central line shared an island platform with National Express East Anglia, which became extremely busy, especially during peak hours. It is expected that 12,000 people will use Stratford Regional during the Games at peak hours.

Hugh Sumner, Director of Transport for the ODA, said:

Capacity at Stratford Regional is being trebled to accommodate upwards of 100,000 people during Games-time peaks.

Having doors opening on both sides on the Central line is one way we are achieving this.

Overall, around £6.5bn is being invested in transport connected with the Games, which will help create a successful transport legacy for years to come.

The ODA and Transport for London are making many significant improvements to Stratford, with total costs being £325 million, with £200 million spent on Stratford Regional. This includes the Stratford International extension to the DLR, which appears to be currently looking at a January 2011 opening, and two new platforms for the London Overground.

Written by George Moore