Somewhat buried amongst a number of railway-related announcements from the DfT this month was final confirmation of something that Waltham Forest council have been pushing for some time – the reopening of Lea Bridge Station.

The station (as “Lea Bridge Road”) was one of the original stations on the Northern & Eastern Railway, which opened in 1840. At the time, Walthamstow was a relatively popular retreat for London’s businessmen and the station was in part intended for their use. In truth, however, the station never attracted significant footfall during its operating life, especially as newer, better, connections within Walthamstow itself began to emerge.

Lea Bridge Station, approx. 1897

Lea Bridge Station, approx. 1897

Lea Bridge Station, approx 1907

Lea Bridge Station, approx 1907 from the John Alsop collection, via Disused Stations

A Sporting Peak

Lea Bridge experienced something of a revival in the 1920s, largely thanks to its proximity to the now-demolished Lea Bridge Stadium. “The Bridge,” as it was then known, was the home of a sport that was enormously popular in London at the time, but whose role in the city’s social history is now often overlooked – Speedway.

Speedway at Lea Bridge Station

Phil Bishop & Roger Frogley in action at Lea Bridge stadium, with thanks and copyright to Defunct Speedway

The Bridge hosted speedway between 1929 and 1939, and was home to the Clapton Saints Speedway team, who competed in the National League from 1932 onwards. Speedway wasn’t the only sport that brought people (and thus passengers) to the area, however, for between 1930 and 1937 The Bridge was also home to Clapton Orient FC. Orient regularly pulled in gates of 7000 at the stadium, with the stadium’s record attendance being set in the 1936/37 season when Orient v Millwall attracted a crowd of over 20,000.

By 1937, however, Clapton Orient had become unhappy with their shared sporting home, and a move was engineered to Leyton where the club would soon adopt the name by which they are better known today – Leyton Orient.

Lea Bridge Stadium in 1933

Lea Bridge Stadium in 1933. Note the station platforms visible in front of the ground, and the goods depot to the bottom of the image.

Without the additional income football provided, the fortunes of the stadium – and its speedway team – declined, and it closed soon after. The station, however, limped on, although it would see no major investment for the rest of its operating life.

Decline and Fall

In 1970, British Rail decided to remove freight services from Lea Bridge, and the station’s fate was finally decided in 1984 when BR announced that direct services between Stratford and Tottenham Hale would cease in October that year. Following objections from the public, this change was deferred until July 1985 but Lea Bridge Station’s closure was now inevitable.

By the time it closed in 1985 it was a shadow of its former self. The small, but architecturally interesting, ticket office with which the station had first opened had long since disappeared. It was demolished by British Rail in 1976 and replaced by a simple, featureless shelter to allow staffless operation.

The station building in 1940

The station building in 1940, courtesy the Vestry House museum

Lea Bridge Station in 1984

Lea Bridge Station in 1984 by Nick Catford, via Disused Stations

Years of under-investment had also seen the station fall into disrepair at platform level, with most of its shelters and furniture long since removed.

Lea Bridge Station on its last day

Lea Bridge Station on its last day by Dave Brennand, via Disused Stations

The Station Today

Since its closure, the station has continued to detoriate. A “blink and you’ll miss it” feature on bus journeys up the Lea Bridge Road from Clapton to Walthamstow at the point where the road crosses the line to Stratford.

Where to find the station today

Where to find the station today

The station building, which for a time was hidden behind advertising hoardings and used by the homeless for shelter, ultimately succumbed to fire. Meanwhile at platform level track was ripped up and the platforms became increasingly overgrown.

The reopening of the section of Line on which Lea Bridge sits to allow services between Stratford and Stansted in 2005 has resulted in the greenery being somewhat better pruned, but as the photos below show, the station still remains desperately dilapidated and overgrown.

The station viewed from the road side

The station viewed from the road side

The remains of the station building, now fenced off

The remains of the station building, now fenced off

The remains of the 1970s ticket office

The remains of the 1970s ticket office

The old staircase down to  the platform (to Tottenham Hale)

The old staircase down to the platform (to Tottenham Hale)

The remains of the stairs down to the Stratford platform

The remains of the stairs down to the Stratford platform

The remodelling that created Argall Way, and its adjacent open space, means that its now possible to get much closer to the old station and see its state at ground level, although the area is still relatively overgrown.

The station, abandoned trackbed, and the bordering space by Argall Way

The station, abandoned trackbed, and the bordering space by Argall Way

Lea Bridge Station viewed from platform level

Lea Bridge Station viewed from platform level

The station from afar

The station from afar

The platforms seem relatively intact, structurally speaking, but do show the amount of debris and damage that one might expect for a station that has been abandoned and overgrown for so long.

Lea Bridge Station platforms

Lea Bridge Station platforms


Another view of the Lea Bridge Station platforms

A closer view of the platforms, taken last year

A closer view of the platforms, taken last year

A Station Reborn

With the resumption of services along the line on which the station sits in 2005, Waltham Forest sniffed an opportunity to push the case for the station’s reopening. At first glance, the station may seem a poor candidate for regeneration, appearing to sit on the edge of a surprisingly large expanse of open space between Hackney and Waltham Forest. In truth, though, the case for reopening has only increased over time. The station sits on a busy road well connected to Walthamstow, Hackney and Leyton via local buses. Nearby Bakers Arms, an area of increasing population density, is also shorter on solid rail connections than one might think – the Central Line, Victoria Line, Overground and National Rail connections to Liverpool Street are all temptingly close but just out of reach. A reopened station at Lea Bridge would be only a five minute journey from Stratford, a location and station reinvigorated by the arrival of Westfield and the Olympics.

None of the above has been lost on Waltham Forest council (or indeed on both Network Rail and TfL). The council pushed heavily for the station to be rebuilt and reopened before the Olympics, and though their campaign was ultimately unsuccessful it did push the door to redevelopment ajar, with Network Rail indicating that they were open to suggestions in the future.

In March 2012, the Council began another push to see the station reopened, commissioning a feasibility study into options and costs, with the tacit backing of Network Rail and TfL (whose own interests in the future of the Lea Valley Line were by this point well known).

Finally, in January 2013, Waltham Forest Council confidently announced that they now had Network Rail’s support and were working together to secure the required funds.

Although it was a major step forward, there were still some issues to overcome. This month, however, the DfT finally confirmed that the station would be one of four to be given the green light for development. Lea Bridge station’s rebirth is now all but guaranteed.

Looking into the Future

So just what will this new station look like?

Although specific plans are yet to be made public, the amount given for the station cost (£6.5m) is pretty telling. This matches exactly the cost of the Council’s preferred option (Option E) in their 2012 feasibility study. This was also the option they indicated then that Network Rail felt was the most practical. From this, therefore, we can probably conclude with a considerable degree of confidence that the final station will be almost identical to the plan proposed in that study.


Option E from the Council’s feasibility study

The layout for this can be seen above. Essentially the platforms will be brought back into service, but station access will be moved from the previous location at the top of the bridge to an unmanned station building at ground level, with a new footbridge added to provide access to the Tottenham Hale platform.

The new Lea Bridge station

The new Lea Bridge station

Moving access to the station to ground level may seem, at first glance, to be an odd decision, given that it means incurring the costs of building a new footbridge. Visiting the site in person, however, shows just how limited access from the current bridge is.

The narrow path access along the bridge to the station

The narrow path access along the bridge to the existing station building

The open space now to be found by the Stratford platform by Argall Way is also too good a station development opportunity to miss. By using just a small section of that land it is possible to provide both bike and vehicle parking, as well as an unmanned ticket facility that can easily be upgraded to a manned station building if required in future.

Looking down, roughly, at the site of the new station building from the bridge

Looking down, roughly, at the site of the new station building from the bridge

The new station building, viewed from a similar angle

The new station building, viewed from a similar angle

Using the existing stairs as the primary means of accessing the platforms would also have meant trying to find an alternative way of making the platforms accessible to those with mobility problems. Under the current plan, lifts can be included in the new footbridge design, and the existing stairs potentially brought back into service at a later date if demand supports it.

A mocked up view from the footbridge of the Stratford platform and station building

A mocked up view from the footbridge of the Stratford platform and station building

Whatever the final design, the fact that the station is returning at all is ultimately good news both for Waltham Forest Council and the area in general. With construction due to start shortly, and an opening date before the end of 2014 being mooted, the sight of the old station sitting forgotten and unloved on the bridge is now finally drawing to an end.

Somewhere, in the graveyards of the East End, the ghosts of the Clapton Saints are looking affectionately once more towards Lea Bridge with a smile.

Many thanks to Bob – a police officer who, having watched your LR Editor repeatedly reboard buses over the bridge to take photos of the railway and station, and then crawl deep into bushes next to railway land to do the same, was happy to accept that there was a reasonable excuse for this behaviour – and then even helped hold back the worst of the shrubbery.

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There are 366 comments on this article
  1. Jonathan says:

    And bring back the Cravens!

  2. Graham Thomas says:

    The W19 bus service currently terminates about 500m away at the Argall Avenue Industrial Estate, extending this to terminate at the new station would probably be of benefit giving a direct connection to Walthamstow whichis a lot quicker than a 48 due to the quiet back street route.

  3. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Political incorrectness alert. Manned/unmanned used three times instead of staffed/unstaffed. Me feels the LR guide to writing style needs an update.

  4. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Meant to say, as once stated to JB, I can’t believe they would do this just for a half-hourly service so I reckon we must see an improved or new rail service on this line around the time it opens.

  5. John Bull says:

    If “manned” and “unmanned” is good enough for NASA, I think it’s good enough for us.

  6. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Surprised that there was a policeman keeping on eye on that part of Waltham Forest. I’ve never seen one in that area whenever I’ve been there. Still it is helpful to have the station reopening as there is more development in that area and I’m sure it will be used. It’s just a slight shame the service level is relatively poor and there is little prospect of it improving given the reducing likelihood of devolution of Greater Anglia’s inner area services to TfL. The other aspect that would really improve local connectivity is reinstatement of the Low Hall Farm curve to give Chingford – Stratford services. Of course we will have to wait for decades, if it ever happens, for that link to be reinstated despite the eminent logic for it if people actually looked at how busy local bus services are from Walthamstow to Stratford.

  7. John Bull says:

    Indeed – first time I’d seen one that far south of Bakers Arms as well. They seemed to be out in force yesterday though (as were the grippers on the trains and buses). Not sure why.

    I do think that the reopening suggests bigger plans are afoot for the line in general. It would indeed be something of a wasted opportunity otherwise.

  8. swirlythingy says:

    What’s with that short set of steps leading up to the Stratford platform from the abandoned trackbed? They look quite new.

  9. Greg Tingey says:

    Once Lea Bridge is re-opened, there is a better case for re-opening the Hall Farm curve & making the Chingford service every 10 minutes, alternating between Liverpool St & Stratford – especially once CR1 is open ….

    The other thing that needs to be done, before LB ir re-opened is do something about the current service – one of the slowest in London & suprisingly unreliable regarding timekeeping, even so!

  10. Slugabed says:

    The plan,as published,would seem to put the kybosh on any thoughts of re-instating the goods lines (visible in Dave Brennand’s photo).
    This seems short-sighted,as capacity is a real problem on the Lee Valley line,and the greater the route-mileage of 3- or 4-tracks can be,the better,surely?

  11. Josh says:

    Is this one of those lines that TfL wants for London Overground? Do we know if they are likely to get it yet?

  12. Anonymous says:


    “The plan,as published,would seem to put the kybosh on any thoughts of re-instating the goods lines ”
    On the contrary, no substantial structure would be in the way. The station buildings would have to be relocated but there would certianly be no compulsory purchase. One possibility would be to move the up (towards Stratford) platform and station buildings right up to the road, and have the freight lines in the middle

  13. Alan says:

    I cycle past here regularly – I hope they do something about the overbridge there. The cycle path on the pavement is very useful at rush hour when the traffic blocks back (pretty much solid between Clapton Pond and the station) but with added footfall there’ll be a lot of conflict!

  14. Stationless says:

    @Josh: I noticed the mock-ups have roundels on he platforms – a sign of hope, maybe?

  15. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Josh – yes this route is part of the Greater Anglia network that TfL would like to take responsibility for. Depending on what rumour you listen to then you can either be despondent or slightly optimistic. TfL are clearly still hoping to secure devolution as evidenced by recent statements from Sir Peter Hendy to the London Assembly Transport Committee. However since then there have been loud grumbling noises from Kent and rumours elsewhere that the Secretary of State (SoS) has gone “lukewarm” about the idea. Further DfT civil servants, presumably fearful of being shown up by TfL’s different approach, are quoted as “trying to stop the idea”. The main argument seems to be “lack of democratic control” whatever that means when you are talking about the DfT and its disdain for just about everybody. Watch Transport Questions in the House of Commons if you want to see a masterclass in how not to answer questions posed by MPs!! TfL does not do that when it has to sit in front of Assembly Members and even the Mayor has to answer sometimes!

    The SoS should have made a statement by now but it is now apparently due “in late Summer” which really means September given the Summer recess. I am not very confident that the government will be brave enough to devolve services to TfL and my guess is that it will argue that it is not affordable given the cuts being demanded by the Chancellor. Sorry to be a misery.

  16. Luckymal says:

    Thank you, Very interesting read, what would be the Tfl option?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Anyone got an idea of the alignment for the proposed for extension of the DLR from Stratford International to Walthamstow? does it follow the existing rail alignment – then there was also something about extending the NLL from Stratford to Walthamstow, I assume these were competing proposals – there was a cab ride journey between Stratford and Tottenham Hale through the station on youtube – but it looks like it’s been pulled along with several others on lines out of Liverpool Street – however there is a current video of the area around the station prompted by the reopening.

  18. DT says:

    I can’t see the Docklands Light Railway being extended anytime soon to Walthamstow. The Dagenham Dock extension seems to be on indefinite hold. You’ll probably get Crossrail 2 before the DLR nearby.

    I believe NR want to triple or quadruple the tracks and/or reinstate the Hall Farm curve to increase the frequency. I think their NR’s RUS for London stated this.

    Isn’t the Overground already packed between Stratford & Highbury & Islington? If so I don’t think that will be going to Walthamstow either.

  19. Greg Tingey says:

    The Hall Farm curve was on the BR (No 2) Bill for 1989-90…
    But nothing was done, because the railways were (still) “in permanent decline” & privatisation was going to wreck change everything for the betterment of the road-lobby crooks wasn’t it?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’m a local resident two streets away from the station, and I’m worried about travelers parking there cars in my street.
    apart from that I’m looking foreward to being able to get into the city of london.

  21. katy andrews says:

    Lea Bridge Station is and always was in the Parish of Leyton. It has never been in Walthamstow. The original station benefited from financial input ftom the Warner family, whose forward-looking garden suburbs started up once the railway came, eg the nearby Clementina Estate on the eastern fringes of Leyton Marshes. A single track shuttle tram linking Lea Bridge Stn to west Walthamstow, running beside the ancient Black Path (or Porters’ Way), was put in much later. Not to serve City gents, but for the Warner estates being developed there around Coppermill Lane.

  22. katy says:

    Quick point re Purley Pedant’s misunderstanding of “manned.”
    To man means to turn one’s hand to. From the Latin “manus,” meaning a hand.
    Hence eg manufacture (to make by hand), farmhand (agricultural worker), or to man (to work in or at) as in “man a spacecraft” (cf “all hands to the pumps!” vs “man the pumps!”)
    To man is a verb, not a noun, and has no gender.
    “To man” has no relationship to the noun “man,” meaning a male person, or “Man,” meaning mankind (of any sex) in general.
    I’ve no issue with stations, even space stations, being manned by women!

  23. John Bull says:

    Fascinating. You got any links or pointers to the Warner connection anywhere Katy? I’ve always seen Lea Bridge talked about as described above. A Warner link would make sense, though, and I can then modify this article appropriately.

  24. c says:

    I don’t think Hall Farm is a go-er, by the plans I’ve read. Shame as it seems to be such a quick, easy win.

    Plans seems to call for 4tph Stratford to Brimsdown – with a new turnback facility and triple tracking up to the latter.

    However, Crossrail 2 is very much in the picture now and will affect that whole corridor, so who knows.

    The balance of services is shot with SWML, so Crossrail 2 might need some of these Lea Valley frequencies – meaning Hall Farm could be a sensible solution to serve Lea Bridge.

    CR2 would probably lead to quadding, but two tracks I’m sure would be fasts only for Stansted and Cambridge – currently 6tph, but I did read another fast Cambridge train is planned.

  25. Fandroid says:

    Extending the Overground NLL from Stratford to Chingford via Walthamstow (and a reinstated Hall Farm Curve) would mainly serve the obviously repressed demand for a link down the east side of the Lea Valley to Stratford and the end of the Jubilee Line. It would not add much, if anything, to loadings on the NLL itself. The practical problem of extending the DLR from Stratford in the Hole is that the only realistic routes all fringe the built-up area, because the Victorian developers of West Essex stuffed so many houses into Leyton and Walthamstow and left the main roads as narrow winding congested affairs. Even the better-built Warner estates have fairly narrow roads.

  26. Anonymous says:

    “Extending the Overground NLL from Stratford to Chingford via Walthamstow (and a reinstated Hall Farm Curve) would mainly serve the obviously repressed demand for a link down the east side of the Lea Valley to Stratford and the end of the Jubilee Line.”
    Why not extend the Jubilee Line to Chingford instead? NLL from Hackney to Walthamstow via Stratford would be an awfully big dogleg .

  27. NG says:

    @John Bull

    You endeavours with the buses and the bushes are appreciated. Interesting article and in these days of zonal fares, the success of the station will be based on convenience to the traveller of the location and service level and not reliant on pricing quirks as so often happened in times gone by.

    Not wishing to out-pedant the respected denizen of Purley (but doing so anyway), your last para has a misuse of ‘mute’:

    ‘With construction due to start shortly, and an opening date before the end of 2014 being muted, the sight of the old station sitting forgotten and unloved on the bridge is now finally drawing to an end.’

    What you meant to say was that the opening date was being mooted – in the sense of tabled or proposed – rather than muted which means silenced or reduced in volume. At any rate, the station opening will merit some razzamatazz…

  28. Chris says:

    On the manned/staffed question, my two-volume Oxford English Dictionary says the verb “to man” is of Germanic origin, not Latin, with meanings along the lines of “supply people to something”.

  29. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Muted. Missed that. I’ll correct it.


    I bow to your knowledge of etymology. I am suspect you are correct. Nevertheless, it is generally regarded as politically incorrect to use manned when staffed would also be an alternative. Knowing JB, I suspect he will now deliberately use manned and and delight in giving your explanation to the meaning of the word when challenged.

  30. The other Paul says:

    @Anonymous 09:34AM Why not extend the Jubilee Line to Chingford instead?”

    Because –
    1) That would be a complete and needless replacement of all the infrastructure, including ripping out the OHLE to put in 4 rails. Why spend all that money?
    2) The above would take years to do rather than months.
    3) Whilst there is repressed demand, it’s nothing like enough to tag this on the end of a 32tph Jubilee. Even if we put a generous 8tph through Lea Bridge, that still leaves 24tph turning around at Stratford. What’s the point?
    4) It would encourage passengers from Walthamstow and Chingford to stay on the Jubilee through to the West End, even though it isn’t a direct route, thus needlessly loading Jubilee trains through the docklands.
    5) It would render the line unusable for freight traffic.

    The Overground plan isn’t ideal either, but at least it’s a reasonable use of the existing infrastructure. LO could “do a Clapham Junction” here and have back to back services turning around but, unlike at Clapham, operationally it doesn’t make sense.

  31. Alan Griffiths says:

    Serious discussion of capacity between Coppermill Junction (south of Tottenham Hale) and Broxbourne junction (north of Broxbourne) and all the other hopes and fears for the Lea Valley lines is to be found here:

    The current state of play is
    1) NR are evaluating whether a turn-back facility at Brimsdown should be between or to the east of the through tracks, with a view to building it during CP5, 2014 to 2019. That will allow four all-stations trains per hour to and from Stratford, but not at regular 15 minute intervals.
    2) NR do not intend to build extra tracks to the east between Brimsdown and south of Coppermill junction before 2019, unless someone else (TfL ??) finds the money. They told the annual WARG politicians meeting that the track is full but the trains are not. This caused much concern in Haringey and Enfield, but it is not an argument that anyone has been able to knock down.

  32. Baskii says:

    @katy andrews Thanks for the post Katy, that’s a really interesting connection. My grandparents used to live in a Warner flat in Clementina Road, opposite the gasworks. I’ve never thought very much about the role that Warners played in the development of what is now Waltham Forest, but I imagine it must have been considerable. I lived in a Warner flat when I was very young, as did several other members of the family.
    (Somewhat off-topic, but as a child in the late 70s I remember my grandad taking me to the railway footbridge just south of Lea Bridge to watch the trains in the marshalling yard, and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons for my interest in transport now.)

  33. Malcolm says:

    PoP says “it is generally regarded as politically incorrect to use manned when staffed would also be an alternative.”

    If you disapprove of the preference for “staffed” over “manned”, then you are entitled to say “it is politically incorrect to…”, but not to claim the support of the majority with the “generally regarded” bit. Alternatively, if you wish to describe a majority view (whether or not you approve of it) then you should not use the loaded term “politically incorrect”.

    I know, it’s a bit pedantic.

  34. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I claim the support of the majority who would probably accept that it is generally regarded as politically incorrect. I did not think that politically incorrect was a loaded term – and in any case what is the alternative?

    I do not claim that, because the majority would agree that it is politically incorrect, it follows that they actually approve of political correctness.

    Personally, I have no strong feelings on the subject. I only mentioned it because John Bull in his editorial capacity is normally quite careful to rephrase something so as to be less inflammatory or misconstrued. I was, therefore, rather bemused that he chose to use terminology that is generally avoided for this reason.

    The words “mountain” and “molehill” are currently swirling around my head.

  35. Fandroid says:

    Extending the Overground NLL to Chingford would create a dog-leg, but only for pedantic map-studiers. I wouldn’t expect many people to travel beyond Stratford in either direction, as Stratford itself would be either the destination or interchange point for most passengers. It’s been noted here on LR before that vast numbers get off and on at Oxford Circus on every Bakerloo and Victoria Line train travelling through, but that doesn’t mean that those lines should terminate and reverse there!

    It would just make sense operationally to run at least some trains through rather than have all the fun of terminating and drivers changing ends. No new knitting would be needed at Stratford as the Chingford service could use the same platforms as the current Lea Valley service does.

  36. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Alan Griffiths

    The Lee Valley third track project is further along the optioneering and funding route than you say.

    LB Enfield commissioned a report in 2010 on options for improved Lea Valley local train services, and this is summarised in the following link. Different stopping patterns or an extra track were the main options.

    TFL and Network Rail took forwards the idea of a third track, as the first step towards a longer term 4-tracking objective. A third track was assessed favourably in the July 2011 London & SE RUS, with various options on levels of service and trackage. Network Rail then adopted a minimal scheme (Option C2a in RUS Chapter 7, only a siding at Brimsdown) within the September 2011 Initial Indsutry Plan. This relied on using the existing two tracks north of Coppermill, and was eventually judged unworkable following the new West Anglia timetable of December 2011. So a more extensive third track scheme was the way forward, providing that was affordable.

    However it was unaffordable to go all the way to Brimsdown (Option C2b), so the railway improvements north from Angel Road were deferred until a later project could be funded. It was still important to reach Angel Road, as this is where there will be a new town centre and transport hub in the Upper Lee Valley Opportunity Area. See attached planning link:

    Broroughs and other stakeholders specified in Spring 2012 the outputs sought from the revised railway scheme, including services and other facilities. See for example:

    The desire was for a 4tph local stopping service between Stratford-Lea Bridge (funded separately)-Tottenham Hale-Northumberland Park-Angel Road (S-T-AR = ‘STAR’ project), to give a trusted walk-on service connecting with major interchanges, and with Overground-type standards of facilities.

    The scheme was adopted by Government in illustrative terms in the July 2012 High Level Output Statement. Some funding was allocated within a broader package, within the Statement of Funding Available. HLOS and SoFA lead towards ORR review of Network Rail’s next 5-year spend in Control Period 5 (2014-19), and open the process for the rail industry to firm up the details of the numerous schemes. (Not all schemes may survive those processes.)

    Network Rail has currently allocated £44m for the scheme in its January 2013 Strategic Business Plan, which buys 4tph between Stratford, Lea Bridge and a third track from south of Coppermill Junction to Tottenham Hale. The full scheme to Angel Road is currently costed at £72m including optimism bias. TfL is offering £3m for works at Tottenham Hale station (where there is also a bigger rebuild project being considered). The £25m funding gap is being addressed by bids co-ordinated by the North London Strategic Alliance, for grant from authorities and partners including the London Local Enterprise Partnership. LB Enfield is also bidding for separate funding to create better station access and a transport hub at Angel Road, alongside Meridian Water.

    The extent of LLEP funding may be known during June 2013, while 12th June is when the ORR gives its preliminary determination on Network Rail spending in CP5. So fingers are crossed that CP5 will see a third track in place from Coppermill Junction all the way to Angel Road, with a new station at Lea Bridge and improved stations everywhere north of Stratford, along with a walk-on local service. This will underpin the main land use investments along the Upper Lea Valley.

  37. peezedtee says:

    @PoP “I did not think that politically incorrect was a loaded term – and in any case what is the alternative?”

    An alternative to “politically correct” is “currently fashionable”. An alternative to “politically incorrect” is “currently unfashionable”.

    This is itself, of course, a politically incorrect statement.

  38. Greg Tingey says:

    Of course the Tottenham & Forest Gate (MR & LTSR Jt) railway was laso called: “Mr Warner’s railway”
    His lastin other legacy to the area is is his old estate, Highams Park & is mpw part of The Forest (Epping Forest) that is ….

  39. stimarco says:

    @Katy, et al:

    The verb form of “man” is indeed from the Old English, not Latin. The Romans left surprisingly little direct impact on the English languages and the vast majority of Latin-derived terms originated not from Roman times, but from the invasion by the Old French-speaking Normans.

    E.g. “maintain” entered the Middle English lexicon via the Normans (“maintenir”, Old French), who, in their turn got it from their Latin-speaking ancestors (“manu tenere” — literally, “to hold in the hand”).

    However, the English word “man” came from the Angles and Saxons (Old English bore more resemblance to Frisian than anything else). Its exact genealogy isn’t clear, but the OED claims that it’s related to “man” (Dutch), “Mann” (German) and even “manu” (Sanskrit; meaning “mankind”).

    The verb form of “man” is a legacy of Old English, when “man” had only one, gender-neutral, meaning: “a human being”. In Old English, “wer” denoted a male human, while a female was a “wif”. (Even the slowest of readers can probably guess which modern English word was descended from the latter, but even the former still has a vestigial existence in the “were-” prefix, as used for “werewolf”.)

    The use of “man” to denote a male human came later, but its original meaning was retained. It is therefore a word with two distinct meanings, not just one.

    There are, according to the OED, no accepted standard alternatives for compound words like “manpower”, or the verb form of “man”. I would contend that, as this verb form was always gender-neutral, it makes no sense to change it.

    Anyone reading more into the word should not have their clearly erroneous opinion “respected”, but be advised to buy a good dictionary instead. And then told to look up the word “have”, which can mean seven different things in its verb form alone, in addition to its auxiliary verb and noun forms. The same word can have multiple meanings in English. This is normal, not something to whine about.


    I remain yr. obd. svt.

    Col. Crustibold Pedantic-Gitte. DSO. (Retd.)

  40. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    Mate, you have got to do something about your keyboard.

  41. JM says:

    Stratford to Chingford would definitely be a useful addition. Many people disembark from the 58/69/97/158 at Leyton station trying to cram onto already full tubes – some of them having to change again at Stratford. And given the distance, travelling from Waltham Forest to Docklands is a pain given the relative short distance. A bay platform at Leyton would be useful too although you would probably need to rebuild the ticket office.

    I don’t see why you would need to extend the LO from Stratford to the north given the bus and rail links you already have from Hackney (could say the same for CR2 for that matter). One future link that may be useful is one that links Stratford Intl to Lea Bridge to offer better links to the station, East Village and places like ICity given the development earmarked for the lower Lea Valley around there and Hackney Wick.

    Is the chord between the NLL and the Lea Bridge line through the village ever used for freight?

  42. Anonymous says:

    @stimarco et al (careful, that’s Latin, though Al might be historic or modern Essex?!)

    Modern Japanese still has no distinction between male, female or even plural, in the word ‘hito’ – which hieroglyphically is ᄉ . So ‘man’ here in a neutral-gender, neutral-volume context = ‘person(s)’. Suggest politically concerned LRC commentators use ᄉ in future, no-one will know who you mean…

    Anyhow, ‘hito’ causes problems (and sometimes fun) in current Japan, sometimes you can only work out what is meant from context, not from the actual phraseology – and you might still be wrong, plurally or in other respects!

  43. Pete In USA says:

    Over here, instead of the mail man he’s… er… it’s the person person.

  44. timbeau says:

    Anon 1738

    I know no Japanese, but have to write legal documents (patents) in English which are likely to need translation to Japanese at a later date if we want cover there as well. Drafting something that has to still make sense and be legally watertight even if you remove not only the distinction between singular and plural, but also between the definite and indefinite articles, can be quite a challenge.
    You occasionally get problems as well when translating from German or French into English where different pronouns both translate to “it” in English because the objects to which they relate which have different genders in the original language but not in English.

  45. Greg Tingey says:

    The verb form of “man” is a legacy of Old English, when “man” had only one, gender-neutral, meaning: “a human being”. In Old English, “wer” denoted a male human, while a female was a “wif”. Ah, yes, & the modern German … “Mesnsch” for a human as well as a man, though the latter is “ein Mann

    ( err. I was very tired (6 hrs + agriculture) when I typed that! )
    Lets try again, shall we?
    Of course the Tottenham & Forest Gate (MR & LTSR Jt) railway was also called: “Mr Warner’s railway”
    His lastin gother legacy to the area is in his old estate, Highams Park & which is noww part of The Forest (Epping Forest) that is …

    See here:

  46. Rotherhithe chap says:

    Katy – thanks for the fascinating info. Just to join the list of pedants – the Romans couldn’t really have directly influenced the “English” language, since the arrival of “English” folk on these shores only began as the last Romans left.

    And, as for the Normans having “Latin-speaking” ancestors — well, of course, their lineage and original language were actually Scandinavian, hence “Northman/Norman”. (whoops, there’s that ‘man’ use again).

    This isn’t meant to be at all critical – it’s a very interesting topic – to me at least!

    Looking forward to see this station re-opened and more activity on and around the line.

  47. DW down under says:

    Rotherhithe chap @ 08:18AM, 22nd May 2013

    Rather interesting that these Nor’man chaps spoke “Viking”. How does that explain the Domesday Book, where many misspellings are attributed to the difficulty the “French” scribes had in interpreting Norse and Germanic sounding diphthongs etc of the Viking settlers?

    Of course, the Romans did have an influence on the Britons living in Britain – as shown through the “Time Team” TV series among others (inter alia).

  48. Milton Clevedon says:

    Jolly interesting stuff.

    Just have in mind that there is often considerable settlement and linguistic overlap, and not least from the AD200s to the AD400s. I would be surprised if there wasn’t flexibility and overlapping between languages over a 200 year period as Germanic peoples were either recruited into the Roman armies, or were resettled by the Romans after various local uprisings in Roman-controlled Rhenish lands, or migrated to live side by side with the locals for a century or more before the roles were reversed and the Romans lost power. [A major influence in their loss of power was the impact of increasingly unaffordable taxes to pay for the Roman armies (the ‘annona’ – crudely the ‘annual onus’).]

    So it wasn’t always that one day you’re speaking only Latin or British or Germanic or Gallic and the next you have some totally unknown language thrust on you. Even in mediaval times, you might have been in a major city (say Exeter) and heard people conversing in Cornish, Norman-French, Latin, Welsh and Germanic as well as English.,

  49. Anonymous says:

    The Normans had lost their Germanic language not so many years after their settlement in northern France.

    Certainly by about 970 all of their documents are in French.

    A rare case of the successful invaders adopting the language of the people they had usurped.

  50. A. Nonymous says:

    The Lea once marked an important national boundary between kingdoms.

    But to be honest, although l can get on with people from most nations, (my own wife was born in Libya), l’ve always had a problem with people from Kent. Are the Cantii a sort of French people without humour and manners?

  51. Alan Griffiths says:

    Milton Clevedon 01:28PM, 21st May 2013

    Thank you for the update. You’ve provided some recent details that I wasn’t aware of, but there is not yet any reason to be confident that 4 trains per hour beetween Stratford and Brimsdown will be running before 2019. This is well short of Enfield and Haringey’s aspirations for their stations and development sites.

  52. Alan Griffiths says:

    JM 04:53PM, 21st May 2013
    “Stratford to Chingford would definitely be a useful addition.”

    You wouldn’t be the only one with that opinion. However, analysis of possible investments for the Lea Valley lines concluded that
    1) the capacity of platforms 11 & 12 at Stratford would be better used for Lea Valley services.
    2) investement to allow those services to run was better value for money than re-instating the Hall Farm Curve.

    During the shoulder peak, one of those platform tracks is in use to run empty trains between Liverpool Street station and the sidings at Orient Way E10.

  53. MIlton Clevedon says:

    @Alan Griffiths 1:49PM

    That’s why fingers are crossed! Getting to Meridian Water (aka Angel Road) will be an important start, to serve the new Upper Lee Valley town centre. Further to Brimsdown looks like a CP6 candidate – maybe we’ll get a better idea on the scale of 4-tracking priority when the Airports Commission reports (2015?).

    @A. Nonymous 10:37AM

    Remarkably the Angle-Jutic deal with the Cantii was a sort of coalition (think of the Attila Party and UKIP? goodness knows what the joint manifesto was).

    One-third of land/rights were granted to the existing British and any ex-Romans staying around, and two-thirds to the new leading powers. The area had already been long settled-in by the newcomers and clearly they got on with their neighbours. Possibly that didn’t include the East Saxons over the Tamesis.

    So no surprise then, that latterly HS1 took several goes to get across the river…

  54. Saintsman says:

    Fantastic news, Lea Bridge station is a very welcome addition to the network.

    For all the good sense Option E brings the failure to maintain the 4 track bed is very short sighted. There are too many unanswered questions as to the future shape of rail services in the Lea Valley to be definitive about the future. However with planned growth extra track capacity will be needed.

    Assuming Crossrail 2 “regional” becomes the preferred option then the most likely tunnel portal would be north of Coppermill Junction. From here a four track solution to Cheshunt (or beyond) would logically follow (some difficult choices). A second challenge will come from additional freight movements. With the GOBLIN under future strain and a NLL bottleneck beyond Camden, then paths through the Lea Valley may become attractive. In which case four track between Copperhill and Temple Mill East Junctions may be necessary.

    Personally the next step after quickly rebuilding Lea Bridge station will be the push to reopen the Hall Farm curve allowing some Chingford services to Stratford. Being careful, not to isolate Clapton station, in the future. At this point laying physical track should be extended providing two extra through tracks down to Temple Mills. Additional tracks to the north would await the Crossrail 2 outcome.

    With this in mind the problem comes that access via Argall Way necessitates crossing over the empty beds. It makes no sense to build the Lea Bridge station buildings over this track bed, which should be moved forward accordingly. A choice then follows to retain the existing Stratford bound platform which would then require the over bridge to be extended over the empty track beds. Or the through lines are moved to the centre and the existing platform is completely demolished and is rebuilt with realigned track closer to Argall Way. In both cases additional funds are probably required. With a little extra imagination Lea Bridge station can be reopened without creating a future bottleneck.

  55. Graham Feakins says:

    OT @ timbeau 10:42PM, 21st May – Something tells me that you and I may be in the same profession. In my ‘early days’ (1960’s/70’s), the Japanese used to send English texts which were extraordinarily difficult to interpret because of the given word order, plus the lack of distinctions you describe and it was one of my tasks to draft a correct British patent specification for them before filing. Lots of fun!

  56. Whiff says:

    A couple of quick questions which hopefully those more ‘in the know’ might be able to answer. I see that Lea Bridge station is being funded by something called the ‘New Station Fund’ – is this fund just a political gimmick or will actually make more money available so that it is more likely that we will see more new stations being opened in the next few years. Secondly, if as is being suggested, wider devolution of railways in London is now unlikely to happen and TFL are unable to extend the Overground, will they look at trying to improve the current network by, for example, improving station interchanges.

  57. Greg Tingey says:

    WHY is “further devolution of railways” in London unlikely?
    Presumably DafT don’t want to be shown up as total incompetent tossers (again) & are hanging on like grim death?
    Or is/are there other explanations?

    Freight up the Lea Valley?
    Like strings of class O-4 & O-2 trundling south with coal & goods from t’North down the GN/GE joint lines to Stratford ???

  58. Citybus says:

    I know Crossrail 2 is unlikely to follow the safeguarded route but I always thought as the Chelney tunnel passes through Leyton, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a deep level station at the Leyton High Road triangle. Obviously a larger catchment area than Lea Bridge though there’s nothing to say the two projects can’t exist.

  59. DW down under says:

    @ Whiff: as we say Down Under, it’s a “dinkum” budget pot managed by NR under strict guidelines. Many stations across Britain upgraded (lifts, new entrances, bus facilities, lighting, paintjobs, etc) using the fund.

  60. Melvyn says:

    This news is welcome but also needs a deck built that could be used by both passing buses and to extend routes like daytime 38 and other routes that terminate at the western end of Lea Bridge Road to this station. Something Mayor Ken would have already been working on !

    As to comments re Overground its a case of TFL wanting to add further services to its Overground network with services from Liverpool Street to Chingford and Enfield Town being at the top of the list. While plans to create an interchange between Hackney Central and Hackney Downs are also being looked at.

    As for DLR at Stratford International exention to nearby Leytonstone could create a new interchange between CENTRAL, DLR and GOBLIN overground which runs across central line with awkward stations either side.

    This fund is a national fund and Lea Bridge is one of several stations announced . The real question for London is when is Boris and TFL going to fight for new Overground Station at Tufnell Park which would be near the existing Northern Line station?

  61. THC says:

    @DW, Whiff

    Not so DW – the New Stations Fund is a new DfT budget line this year that will be used to part-fund the construction of four new stations (hence the name) including Lea Bridge – it’s not about upgrades to those already in use. While it is a small pot (c. £20m) the fact that a “New Stations Fund” line now exists in the departmental budget book makes it reasonably likely (as reasonable as possible, that is, in the current politico-economic climate) that there will be future funding rounds.


  62. Greg Tingey says:

    While plans to create an interchange between Hackney Central and Hackney Downs are also being looked at.
    Better than that

    As for DLR at Stratford International exension to nearby Leytonstone could create a new interchange between CENTRAL, DLR and GOBLIN overground which runs across central line with awkward stations either side.
    In your dreams.
    How, precisely, given the alignment, both horizontal & vertical is the DLR going to get OUT of Stratford-in-the-Hole to get towards Leytonstone?
    It has to cross the North chord (Channelsea – Loughton Jcns) & then burrow under (flood risk) or fly over (steep grade, even for DLR + visual intrusion to nice flat-dwellers) & curve around through 90 deg+.

    Tufnell Park, or a re-opening of Junction Rd? Can’t have both, though.
    Come to that, a Chingford Hatch station on my local line, by where the level-crossing used to be…..

    What/where are the other three stations, please?

  63. THC says:


    As well as Lea Bridge, the DfT will part-fund new stations at Ilkeston in Derbyshire (a contribution of £4.5m to a c. £6.5m scheme), Pye Corner in south-east Wales (about £2.5m of the £3.5m total) and Newcourt in Devon (about £800k of £1.5m total). What is of interest is that the New Stations Fund is coughing up only £1m of the c. £6.5m total reopening cost at Lea Bridge, and that there appears to be £12m or so left in the pot (for future bidding rounds?)


  64. Anonymous says:

    RE Greg Tingey 07:34AM, 29th May 2013

    Where are the other stations?

    Lea Bridge, London Borough of Waltham Forest, which will receive over £1 million towards a £6.5 million scheme

    Ilkeston, Derbyshire, which will receive over £4.5 million of DfT funding towards a scheme worth over £6.5 million

    Newcourt, Devon, where the DfT will pay for around half of the scheme expected to cost in the region of £1.5 million

    Pye Corner, Newport, which will receive over £2.5 million towards a scheme worth over £3.5 million

    Total Dft Contribution £8.75m, total station costs £18m.

  65. Mark Ranger says:

    Interesting stuff (The train bits). I use the Tottenham Hale-Stratford connection from time to time, mainly to get to London City Airport. But that bit of my journey is so tortuously slow – indeed coming northbound a week or so ago on the 21.30 ex Stratford, we were held before Coppermill for about 10 minutes – I assume because there was backlog of faster trains that they wanted to go ahead of us. The same journey (from Bishop’s Stortford) was about one hour southbound and nearly two hours north. Bizarre.

    So, why not re-instate the Tottenham Hale – Stratford shuttle in the interim? There’s just about space alongside the southbound platform at Tott Hale and I would have thought the service intervals would just about stand it, when there is a gap waiting for the slow Lea Valley services.

    The other thought that has often come to mind is that, if you accelerated the Lea Valley Line from Tott Hale into Stratford, that station is now such a good interchange that you could start to take some pressure off the West Anglia traffic into Liverpool Street and the onwards tube connections.

  66. Snowy says:

    Further 5million allocated to Kenilworth station, leaves about 5.85million left in the pot.

  67. Milton Clevedon says:

    Worth seeing attached press release today from Mayor of London announcing £27.5m towards West Anglia third-track project and an improved Angel Road station, discussed in my 1:28PM on 21st May 2013:

    “The bids approved by the London Enterprise Panel in detail include:

    “£25m allocated for rail upgrades providing extra services at Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale, improving rail links between Stratford, the Upper Lee Valley and beyond including Stansted Airport (bid from the North London Strategic Alliance): –

    “This investment will provide extra rail services (up to 4 trains per hour) from Angel Road and Northumberland Park stations via Tottenham Hale and a re-opened Lea Bridge station to Stratford; – This funding will be part of a £72million West Anglia upgrade project including £44million from Network Rail (subject to the outcome of our submission for the next Control Period) and up to £3m from Transport for London. The investment will ensure that the full scheme and related benefits can be delivered, including the provision of a new track between Lea Bridge station and Angel Road;

    “Collectively with Angel Road Station improvements (below), this will support the commencement of the Meridian Water development and regeneration at Northumberland Park where there are plans for an estimated 3,500 homes and 500 jobs; – It will also support the development of an estimated 15,700 new homes, 21,900 new jobs in the Lee Valley and up to 15,000 jobs in adjoining areas.

    “£2.5m allocated to upgrade Angel Road station and support regeneration in Enfield (bid from Enfield Borough Council): –

    “Angel Road station is vital to the regeneration of Enfield and specifically to support the Meridian Water development and regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley more widely; – Station improvements will increase passenger capacity through an enhanced commuter rail service; – Estimated the scheme could unlock 2,326 jobs across over 55,000m2 of employment land and over 2500 homes; – Station improvements will form part of wider West Anglia route upgrades.”

  68. leytongabriel says:

    Thanks for the article and lots of interesting comments!

    Couple of short points:

    The Crossrail 2 proposals now out for ‘consultation’ no longer include an easterly path across Waltham Forest towards the Central line.

    Press reports seemed to indicate that the re-opening was linked to major housing developments in the area but I can’t see anything adjacent to Lea Bridge station. Does anybody have any info on this?

    Would be great to have a W19 bus turnround by the station entrance or it could be extended down to the ice rink. That said, ‘tidying up’ station entrances by moving them away from main roads isn’t always very popular with us travelling public. Look at the disappointing use of Shoreditch (not) High Street and the safety issues there have been around access to Hackney Central and Hackney Wick. It is a pretty isolated site and having security staff present as on the Goblin route may be critical to get usage above a trickle of hardy souls who work/live nearby.

  69. Yahya Bismillah says:

    A link to Clapton and St James Street from Lea Bridge would also be highly appreciated.

  70. Graham Larkbey says:

    Those who were at Lea Bridge on the last day may remember the ragged-a*sed acoustic combo, Aunt Fortescue’s Bluesrockers, who played on the platform and on the last train (amid an apocalyptic thunderstorm)> AFB split up in 1987, but we always pledged to re-form if Lea Bridge ever reopened to play there again on the opening day. So – see you there!

  71. AlisonW says:

    “station access will be moved from the previous location at the top of the bridge to an unmanned station building at ground level”

    Please, isn’t it time we all used the phrase “unstaffed station” instead of presuming that only men may work there?

  72. stimarco says:

    @AlisonW: You are Lynne Truss and I claim my £5.

    “Please, isn’t it time we all used the phrase “unstaffed station” instead of presuming that only men may work there?”

    It’s an idiomatic usage and one that is easily understood by everyone who matters. Are we also to go back and rewrite Dickens, Austen and Shakespeare, to help such people avoid this appalling First World burden? No? Then everyone is going to be exposed to this usage at some point. We can either concentrate on trivial froth like this, or we can focus our energies on things that actually matter—like preventing pointless wars, encouraging electoral reform, or improving the nation’s infrastructure.

    Our species had the sheer gall to name itself “Wise Man”, but about 50% of us are resolutely female. (I’m also seeing precious little evidence of the “Wise” part, come to think of it.)

  73. Ian J says:

    “we can focus our energies on things that actually matter”.. says the man who posts at great lengths about monorails and other such fantasy projects. I wonder what proportion of posters here are female? And why that might be?

  74. stimarco says:

    @Ian J:

    The last time anyone accused me of repeatedly mentioning the “M” word, it turned out I was one of the few in the entire thread who hadn’t mentioned it at all. Right now, you’re the only one to have mentioned that term in this thread.

    As for “fantasy projects”: I’m hardly the only one who tends to go off on tangents about engineering puzzles. Hypocrite, much?

  75. Moosealot says:

    I recall reading somewhere that the verb to man came from the Latin manus (hand), the same root as words such as manual and manipulate. We talk about farm hands for agricultural labourers, old hands for people with experience (regardless of age) and being short-handed, so it is easy to see how the verb came about.

    The purpose of language is to communicate; provided the communication is clear — nobody is going to consider that an unmanned station might have a non-zero-sized all-female staff — and is not deliberately offensive then there is no need for censorship. Demand that certain words are removed from language is the first step in closing down freedom of debate and freedom of thought; it comes straight out of 1984.

  76. Graham H says:

    @moosealot – well, the OED would disagree with you, but etymology apart, you are right about need not to give in to political correctness – common courtesy ought to be enough; anything else is patronising and stereotyping of the worst sort that the politically correct themselves profess to hate so much. I believe it was Jimmy Carter who thought he was being so correct by referring to Vikings as Vimonarchs…

  77. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    You have reminded me of something completely off topic

    It is not generally known (but can be proven with research), that Abraham Lincoln was also a citizen of San Marino when he was assassinated.

    When George W Bush discovered this little known fact, he decided that he too would like to be an honorary citizen of San Marino. But it all came to nothing when initial enquiries within the White House couldn’t find anyone who spoke San Marinian

  78. Graham H says:

    At the risk of being really far off topic, I am reminded of the British trade delegation that visited Switzerland in the ’50s and concluded that our trade opportunities there were hampered by the inability of the British to speak Swiss.

  79. Malcolm says:

    It is of course just common courtesy to use the word “unstaffed” instead of unmanned. Not because anyone is particularly likely to be misled (in this particular case) but because language does affect thought, and one (admittedly small) step that can be taken to help to deal with the sexism that is so widespread in the world is to adjust our language, particularly when there is a straightforward alternative ready to hand.

    It is also common courtesy not to immediately jump down the throat of anyone who chooses to point out such instances, with overblown references to so-called “political correctness”. If you happen to think that the pointing-out was not necessary in this case, then gently ignoring it would probably be the better course of action.

  80. stimarco says:


    I have no truck with “political correctness”. Attempts to tell me how I should and should not think—which is fundamentally what this argument boils down to—will not work. Ever.

    I prefer other people to tell me what they really think, feel and believe and not hide behind weasel words.

    So why should I put up with attempts to force me into changing how I think and speak? We are supposed to have freedom of expression. This doesn’t mean we have a “Freedom from consequences”—you’re just as free to think I’m an antediluvian old misogynist* git. And I’m free not to give a damn what some random stranger on the Internet thinks of me.

    * (I prefer to think of myself as a cynical misanthrope. One day, I shall finish hollowing out this old volcano with my teaspoon and then… actually, I suppose I’ll have to sort out the plumbing next.)

  81. Malcolm says:


    I don’t think that you’re any kind of git. I do believe that you happen to be wrong about this aspect of the use of language. But I do not feel up to the task of attempting to change your mind.

    Anyway, even if I wanted to take this task on, this forum would obviously not be the place to do it.

  82. Ian J says:

    Strange, isn’t it, how some people push hard for very precise (some would even say pedantic) use of some words (engineering terms, for example) on here, yet seem happy with very loose use of terms with social connotations and get aggressively defensive if anyone questions the attitudes that might be embedded in their use of those terms.

  83. stimarco says:

    I appreciate that this is rather off-topic, but, surprisingly, not entirely…

    Nevertheless, I’ll make this my final post to this thread.

    @Ian J, Malcolm, AlisonW, et al:

    Everyone knows what is meant by words like “unmanned”. Its etymology is irrelevant to most speakers of English as most are simply not aware of the varied histories of each and every word.

    To the vast majority of readers, words like “manned” and “manpower” are, to all intents and purposes, gender-neutral. That it once referred only to male personnel is no longer relevant as nobody uses it in that context any more.

    Words—especially in English—primarily change their meaning over time by common consensus, not by fiat. Nobody “Googled” the Internet 15 years ago: it was merely “searched”. 5 years before that, most people had no clue what an “Internet” was.

    There are parallels between what AlisonW is asking for, and the situation in the 1950s and 1960s: the destruction of great chunks of our railway infrastructure. Euston station, along with its famous Doric Arch, is the poster child for this period, but let’s not forget the attempt to raze St. Pancras to the ground too. This was a time when the prevailing cultural philosophy of the day was to try to build a new, brighter, future. The past was just too painful. Too full of death, gloom and destruction. And we were being reminded of it every time we walked past a bomb site.

    But the past is what teaches us how to create that better future. The destruction of Euston and the attempt to do the same to St. Pancras taught us that we need to retain some ties with our past. We need those notes and reminders: History is our classroom. It is our collective, social and cultural education. It is a series of lessons–often painful, certainly– that show us how to create that bright future. What worked, and what didn’t.

    The English language has a long heritage too. It is itself a part of our past, and thus part of that same classroom. It has its St. Pancras, its Doric Arch, its branch lines. To axe a perfectly good, perfectly useful, word that is doing nobody any harm, is to do to the English language what many of the cuts and rationalisations of the 1960s did to the British transport network. It is an attempt to rip out piece of the very history of our language.

    The English language was born of fire and war. Paternalistic rulers (and a certain equally paternalistic religion) played major roles in forming our culture, so their echoes are unavoidable and should not be removed merely for the sake of removing them.

    I’m an atheist, but I don’t mind that culturally important cathedrals, castles and museums originally built for / by theists are often preserved at the expense of the taxpayer. Because I appreciate that these, too, have their lessons to teach us and our future generations.

    And now, back to your regular programming…

  84. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: and yet you have argued at length on this forum for the systematic rebuilding of many buildings in London, including most Victorian railway terminuses. Presumably you feel that such buildings have had their time but can now be replaced by something more functional. Maybe language is the same? “Unmanned” is hardly a cathedral of the language.

  85. Mike says:

    Stimarco: it must be very gratifying to know a) “what everybody knows”, b) the connotations of specific words “to the vast majority of readers”, and c) that “nobody uses” a specific word to convey its literal meaning.

    None of your high-flown absurdist rhetoric justifies abusive behaviour towards another commenter, all because she suggested (and quite nicely) changing just one word.

    And if you put your ego away for one moment, you’ll notice no-one is asking you to change one jot.

    Moderators: please feel free to delete this comment, together with all the off-topic nonsense above – and why not make the suggested change to the original piece?

  86. peezedtee says:

    I am really irritated by this sort of nonsense. “Unmanned” is a perfectly good word, and I for one am not going to be lectured at on how to use the English language.

  87. Castlebar says:

    A week ago, on BBC radio, “a spokesperson for the feminist collective” said the word “MENstruate” was inappropriate and “must” be changed.

    Truly, the lunatics have been given too much air time in this country

  88. Timmy! says:

    I’m pretty sure commentators have had this discussion about ‘unmanned’ or ‘unstaffed’ previously. People will understand both to mean the same thing in this context but ‘unstaffed’ appears to be used more frequently (and correctly in my opinion).

    I don’t believe either word forms part of the railway jargon used by the industry and commentators on this site. Jargon isn’t a bad thing but can confuse. I often have to look up jargon used here but it does help my understanding (although I’m sure some commentators create their own jargon!).

    As for political correctness – not a bad thing in my view but it’s my view:

    Still, it’s good news that this station is re-opening and yet another good article!

  89. Anonymous says:


    Any further information on this programme? Who was the ‘spokesperson’.

    I’m not saying it didn’t happen but many of the opponents of ‘political correctness’ do enjoy making stuff up.

  90. Castlebar says:

    @ Anonymous

    Think it was a “phone-in” programme on BBC Radio Sussex, possibly a caller from Brighton as it is Brighton centered. West Sussex barely gets a look-in. However, I also listen to BBC Radio 4, so it just might have been on “Woman’s Hour”. I didn’t know I should have written it down.

    I’m not an opponent of political correctness to a point, but I am, like many, concerned when the pendulum swings far too far and starts to alienate the people it previously had “on side”

    The “Women’s Lib movement” went spectacularly quiet when, some years ago, it was announced that in the name of equality, pension ages were being equalised. Not the sort of equality they wanted.

  91. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I think we are getting to the point where this is going way off any relevance to the post and is veering onto an unrelated controversial topic. Political correctness as it applies to the written word is just about relevant. Discussing the attitudes to equality within the pension systems is not.

  92. Anonymous says:


    A nigh untraceable programme and contributor.

    Nor any details of who she was, or what she claimed to be representing.

    I’ll file under ‘urban myth’.

  93. Castlebar says:

    @ PoP I agree. Absolutely.

    @ Anonymous If you truly feel the need to “file it”, (I didn’t, as it wasn’t, and still isn’t, important), I can understand your anonymity. You may file it where the sun doesn’t shine if that is your wish.

    I think PoP would prefer this to get back “on track”, so do not take my refusal to comment any further on this thread as anything other than lack of interest.

  94. stimarco says:

    (I know what I said, but…)


    AlisonW said, and I quote: “Please, isn’t it time we all used the phrase “unstaffed station” instead of presuming that only men may work there?” (My emphasis — @John B: the ‘bold’ tag doesn’t appear to show up in the preview.)

    I have never assumed that “unmanned” implies “only men may work there”. Ever. So her fundamental premise is invalid. In fact, I know of nobody who has ever made that assumption. I sincerely doubt Mr. J. Bull is a sexist pig, but this is very much AlisonW’s implication.

    AlisonW also demands that we all use the phrase “unstaffed station”. As she has not provided any reason for me to do so, (see my previous point), I disagreed with her demand. And it was very much a demand. Merely adding “please” doesn’t change that.

  95. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Alternatively if John Bull had used unstaffed station in the first place we never would have had this argument which was utterly predictable. There are certain words which, rightly or wrongly, trigger certain responses.

    I am going to put on my dictator’s hat and declare that this is a topic where everyone either doesn’t care or has already made their mind up and isn’t going to be swayed by argument. Therefore further comments on the subject will be deleted.

  96. stimarco says:

    @Ian J:

    You’re not the first to accuse me of wanting to raze London to the ground, which suggests some people here have woeful reading comprehension skills…

    I am most emphatically not in favour of doing this, and never have been.

    We now have the technology to record structures and their surroundings in minute detail, storing entire buildings, streetscapes, and so on, in databases that let us recreate those environments in photo-realistic 3D online, or even in dedicated “virtual” museums. Want to see what the King’s Cross area looked like in 2000? Click a button. Want to look at it in 2010? 2020? No problem. We can do this. We have had this technology for years now. It’s not new. It’s routinely used by city planners, and even moviemakers and games developers.

    Yet we still approach conservation and preservation as if none of this new digital recording technology was available.

    We need to move on. Demolishing a building is no longer the death sentence it used to be. There is no need to keep unwanted buildings around just to preserve our history: we can rebuild them, brick by brick, detail by detail, in digital form and preserve them online, intact, and—crucially—in context too.

    I’m in favour of preservation, but we don’t have to always to it the hard way. A sea-change in our approach to preservation and conservation is needed. I therefore stand by my comments on the subject.

  97. Fandroid says:

    Back on topic– ish. In the article it describes how the adjacent stadium was shared with Clapton Orient FC, and that the record gate was 20,000 in the 1936/7 season. A quick look at the aerial photo of the station and stadium in 1933 poses the question – how on earth did they squeeze that lot in! I know from stats about other stadia that amazing crowds would be stuffed into stadia with just about zero safety features, but this one looks to be the equivalent of a gallon into a pint pot. I wonder how the station staff dealt with such a mob at the end of the game? (or were trams still running on Lea Bridge Road then?)

  98. Timmy! says:

    Fandroid: 19:45, 6 September 2013

    I was also impressed by the stadium too. The site has a post on lost sports grounds and caught my interest with the 1950s Kings Cross article. Some of these former grounds are now transport depots.

  99. Holman Falstaff says:

    Network Rail were supposed to make a statement regarding funding for the Coppermill Junction to Tottenham Hale extra track in September. Does anyone know what happened to this ?

  100. Greg Tingey says:

    Work has started @ Lea Bridge
    The up (Southbound) platform is completwely cleared & the down one has had all the vegetation removed, but isn’t completely cleared yet.

  101. Anonymous says:

    Both platforms have now been cleared, and I noticed some workmen doing something beyond the eastern platform.

    I suspect very little change to the existing timetable at points north will be needed, since northbound trains tend to wait at Coppermill Junction for a couple minutes, and southbound trains have plenty of dwell time at Stratford so could arrive a couple minutes later and depart a minuter earlier without any issue.

  102. Michael Hughes says:

    I’ve noticed some work going on in the last few days on Hall Farm Curve. Does anyone know if this is linked to the re-opening of Lea Bridge Station? Last I heard there was no prospect of the Chingford-Stratford link being reinstated anytime soon. Has that changed?

  103. Greg Tingey says:

    It’s a convenient ramp for NR road vehicles to drive up, if track/solum maintenance work is being done. Given the recent deluges & the water-levels, I suspect that the NR engineers are having a careful look-over of all their assets, just in case.

  104. Michael Hughes says:

    That could be it. There was flatbed lorry which appeared to be unloading long pieces of concrete there – I’m a layman so no idea what it might be, but thought it looked promising.

  105. Anonymous says:

    Just asked the council today about this and they know very little. Despite the press releases in 2013 it is actually Network Rail who are in the driving seat and LBWF think that it is unlikely that the station will be open in 2015. It seems to have got tangled up in the upgrade of the Chingford Line stations by TFL and installation of the Low Hall Curve which would need multiple planning applications to go in. No planning has been submitted for the station at Lea Bridge so far, which means that it is likely to be at least 2 years or so until it opens – if things move ahead briskly, which frankly it didn’t sound like it was. More waiting……

  106. tog says:

    Not having been down Lea Bridge Road for a while, I was stunned at the size and number of new apartment blocks that have sprung up alongside the river at the Clapton end.

    When the station eventually opens I’d expect it to be very popular. The soon-to-be TfL Clapton station should probably brace itself, too.

  107. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Summary of TfL Lea Bridge Station business case output is included here in a 2012 report, pages 6-8:
    It will be interesting to see how quickly the station fulfils TfL’s demand forecasts.

  108. Greg Tingey says:

    What is it with LBWF & station redevelopments/re-openings?
    A similar fiasco is ongoing at “Queens Rd” (WMW) & the WMW-WHC link.
    The council are in some unspecified way now responsible for “ownership” of the new ramps/steps on the N side – even though it is all on NR land (!)
    Due to open next week, though that may be postponed AGAIN.
    Meanwhile the timing of laying 3 metres of paving & removing 2 fence-panels to actually join the two stations, easily, has no date attached, IIRC.

  109. Anonymice says:

    Greg, can’t you get the local ‘Romany voker’ heavy mob to complete the Queens Road link overnight? Sure they would find some other use for the materials…

  110. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anonymice – For some reason Waltham Forest seem incapable of delivering any work that involves roads, paths or kerbs on time. From recent direct experience of such work I’d estimate the overrun factor to be 100% of the original duration coupled with the most ludicrous phasing of the works themselves. One has to hope the contractors are working to a fixed price because if it is “time and materials” (or similar) then we’re being ripped off.

    Disappointing to see that Lea Bridge station is seemingly mired in other issues although goodness knows why. The only reason I can think of is some debate in NR about track layouts otherwise constructing the station as per published initial designs should be a breeze (even though I think it’s the wrong design but that’s just me moaning!).

  111. Anonymous says:

    This will mean! more business for me !!! My business will grow over night !! Yuppy!!

  112. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Disappointing to see that Lea Bridge station is seemingly mired in other issues although goodness knows why.

    Discovery of loads of underground services below the station that weren’t documented is what I heard.

  113. LadyBracknell says:

    I go to Walthamstow on a regular basis and always look over the bridge as the 48 passes by and lament at the sad state of the current station and how useful it would be to have a stopping service. My wish is coming true and I look forward to getting off a train at Lea Bridge before the end of the year.

  114. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Lady Bracknell – you haven’t specified which year! You might be lucky to see it open sometime in 2015 on the assumption that whatever has been discovered (as per PoP’s remarks) can be dealt with within the project’s budget and without affecting the rail service. If they have to close the route to remove / reroute whatever is there then you can wave goodbye to the project because the costs in terms of compensation to Greater Anglia will run into silly money very quickly. I don’t know what happens in respect of freight workings being affected.

    It’ll be a shame if the project is stopped but the local finances for it were S106 monies and they had a time limit within which they had to be spent. They were topped up with money from the DfT. The time limit may have been changed by agreement but I am slightly perplexed as to how we’ve got this far with designs having been done and estimates produced to support a funding bid and yet there are apparently these undiscovered utilities. I know you can never find everything or plan for every eventuality but I am surprised nonetheless. I suspect the liability for any cost overrun sits with Waltham Forest Council and council finances get tighter every year.

  115. LadyBracknell says:

    @Walthamstow Writer, I read:

    “Whatever the final design, the fact that the station is returning at all is ultimately good news both for Waltham Forest Council and the area in general. With construction due to start shortly, and an opening date before the end of 2014 being mooted, the sight of the old station sitting forgotten and unloved on the bridge is now finally drawing to an end.”

    and assumed it was a done deal. I shall have to watch this space.

  116. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Lady Bracknell – I’m sure the intent was to open in December 2014 to coincide with the annual timetable change. I haven’t been past in recent weeks but given we’re in August now I simply can’t see anything being ready for December unless contractors are on site and have made reasonable progress in rebuilding the platforms and putting in foundations and services for the new station entrance. Based on what PoP has said I assumed that nothing substantial has happened because more detailed site surveys have thrown up the utilities issue. As PoP has indicated these utilities are unrecorded then it could take a fair while to track where they go, what they carry and if they are used by anyone. You can’t just rip them up without there being possible consequences and we all know how stunningly efficient National Grid, British Gas, Thames Water, BT and London Electricity are (ho ho ho). Sorry to sound the merchant of gloom and doom.

    I see from a Google Search that Lea Bridge station recently featured in the Homes and Property bit of the Standard. That said that works are planned to start in Jan 2015 with a view to opening in December 2015. That sort of fits in with a few months work to unravel the hidden utilities issue and actually procure the right scope of work to build the station. I still think 1 year is quite a challenge given what has to be built alongside a working railway.

  117. ngh says:

    RE WW,

    London Electricity haven’t existed for along time. UK Power Networks (UKPN) are the DNO for London and a fair chunk of the South East (Kent, East Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambs). As with railways / London bus operators still the same staff / policies / procedures after multiple changes of ownership…


    In general former industrialized areas then to have very poor mapping of utilities which frequently leads to problems.

  118. LadyBracknell says:

    @Walthamstow Writer: to be honest, I did think that by the end of this year was stunningly optimistic. As for property prices, one whiff of a new station brings the lizards, I mean developers rushing to the area ready to choke the environs with ticky-tacky high-rise buildings to be sold at eye-watering prices just for a one bed flat.

  119. LadyBracknell says:

    Whilst searching for an update on the Lea Bridge station re-opening, I came across this:

  120. Jonathan Roberts says:

    re Lea Bridge Station

    The following link takes you direct to the Waltham Forest draft minutes following the 15th July 2014 Cabinet meeting: an additional £5m is required and has been found from several sources. See item 6.

  121. Fandroid says:

    I particularly liked the bit in the minutes about Japanese Knotweed having to be ‘evacuated’. Late 2015 seems to be the (vague) opening date.

  122. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ JR – thanks for digging out the paperwork. Some of that makes fairly frightening reading but does at least explain why the costs have gone awry – lack of sufficient planning and verification of asset condition / site state. Hardly an unknown risk.

    I am somewhat shocked that circa £424k is needed for “operator compensation” on a line that is relatively lightly used. That’s more than £1k per day over the 1 year construction and mobilisation phase. Given the design of the site I’d expect that an awful lot of the construction effort could take place without interrupting the train service. You could hoard off the platforms to allow a lot of work. It’s also interesting that overhead and signalling work is needed. The design has also changed with regards to the bridge and steps arrangement.

    @ Fandroid – the programme info and papers say 14 December 2015 is the drop dead date. That is presumably the national timetable change date for 2015. The project must meet that date to qualify for the DfT Stations Fund. I sincerely hope there is another bit of the programme that explains how the fit out, testing, snagging and training work can be squeezed into the 4 months after construction broadly stops. I’m not sure I’d be very confident of getting all that done even for a relatively simple station given the normal Network Rail “modular design” has had to be dispensed with at Lea Bridge. This means there is a risk of non standard kit being used which can create the need for new learning, new paperwork, increased assurance processes, more involved sign offs etc. For a project with apparently no more risk I can certainly see some! Another year’s worth of photography for Unravelled and (probably) me to do.

  123. RayK says:

    Clearly the real cause of delay is the protracted negotiations over where the Japanese Knotweed is to be evacuated to.

  124. Chris C says:

    Can anyone explain the £846k costs for ‘Telecoms’ and what that would include?

    Japanese knotweed can be nasty stuff to remove though – whether it is excavated or evacuated !

  125. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Chris C – a complete guess but I imagine they need a variety of comms infrastructure and systems on the site – staff telephone, comms for station management system, comms for the ticketing and Oyster kit, signal telephone (?), lift alarms and “telephones”, help points. I assume there may need to be some sort of fire suppression system and alert system for the lifts. I suspect the comms may need to be run trackside to / from Tottenham Hale or Stratford or both.

  126. RayK says:

    @Chris C
    ‘Japanese knotweed can be nasty stuff to remove though – whether it is excavated or evacuated !’

    The recognised most successful means of eradicating said weed is by chemical treatment. Unfortunately this can take three or more years. They may indeed have opted for the quicker, yet more expensive and less certain, option of excavation.

  127. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I see Network Rail have submitted a “prior determination” application to Waltham Forest Council to build the new Lea Bridge Station (ref 2014/1902/Prior Det). Unfortunately Waltham Forest use probably the worst system I have ever come across to handle planning application and I cannot get the proposed plan of the station to load. Worse reading the letter from Network Rail it shows they have submitted a number of drawings few of which are accessible via WF’s system. Sigh!

    From reading the letter it sounds like the new footbridge will abut the old slab for the ticket hall at Lea Bridge Road but there will be no entrance there. There will also be two lift towers set in from the Lea Bridge Road on each platform. The basic description of the station building is similar to that previously revealed. It is interesting that Network Rail are relying strongly on their inherited rights from 1845 to do works within the railway boundary and are only seeking approval for those aspects where they cannot use those rights. There will be a further application in respect of the station entrance and whatever they need to do to the highway.

  128. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @WW, the good news is that Network Rail are pressing on.

  129. Mark Townend says:

    @Walthamstow Writer, 5 September 2014 at 01:20
    comms infrastructure and systems on the site – staff telephone, comms for station management system, comms for the ticketing and Oyster kit, signal telephone (?), lift alarms and “telephones”, help points. I assume there may need to be some sort of fire suppression system and alert system for the lifts

    Public address may also be amongst systems nominally under telecoms engineering approval and estimate line, although clearly designed and installed by specialist contractors.

  130. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ JR – well they have to given Waltham Forest Council have robbed various piggy banks to fund the cost escalation. They’re on a very tight timescale to get this prior determination through the council so they can get going and complete the station before certain funding sources expire. Let’s hope they don’t get into an argument with the funders over what “completion” actually is.

  131. Greg Tingey says:

    Unfortunately Waltham Forest use probably the worst system I have ever come across to handle planning application…
    It’s deliberate, I think.
    Example: There’s a set of road-closures round here ( “A temporary trial” of course ) where, because some people were “outside” the designated area, they were not informed, at all, of a road-closure 20 metres from their front door – no, not me – I’m a 120 metres away & I wasn’t told either…..

  132. Snowy says:

    Unfortuately not, the council meeting where it was supposed to be signed off was postponed with no new date currently given. I’m not sure of the reason why, any one any ideas of current delay?

  133. Greg Tingey says:

    Probably because of item 3 on that LBW document, which itself refers back to this:
    Reasons Restricted
    Translation, someone has something to hide…..
    OTOH, the LBWF “cabinet” report suggest that they really want it to go ahead, if they can find the extra monies.
    As long as it doesn’t take as long as it did to to re-open 150 metres of footpath between the two more central stations!

  134. dvd says:

    Perhaps asbestos found in the council chamber ?

  135. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Unless LBWF have managed to negotiate a time extension then they are already too late to sign the agreement and progress the work. They are also at high risk of losing some of the funding contributions because of the deadlines. Every day that there is a delay increases the risk of funding loss and the council being lumbered with the bill. Hopefully someone has taken a really robust look at the project and come to the necessary conclusion even if it means cancelling it. I don’t want it cancelled but it’s already ludicrous that the cost is a shade under £12m and council taxpayers are funding half that.

  136. dvd says:

    Greg, I was at Walthamstow Central at the weekend and saw no sign of (or signs to) the new footpath to Walthamstow Queen’s Road. Where is it ?

  137. Greg Tingey says:

    That’s because there are no signs at all …
    Come out on the up side of WHC (the original building) turn right under/by the block of flats in to the car park.
    Proceed down the left (South) edge of the car park to the bottom (SW) corner, where there is a small gap in the fence & a footpath (Ray Dudley Way)
    Go on down this, into the Edison CLose development & continue, as far as possible, straight on … you will find the steps/bridge/ramp down to WMW in front of you…..


    On the main subject:
    It is amazingly difficult to write about LBWF if you are a long-term resident of the area, since their overall competence leaves a lot to be desired, shall we say?
    On the direct subject – if they have “missed the boat” & thus wasted another load of “ratepayers” money on a project that they & everyone else wanted – the re-opening of Lea Bridge Station, people are not going to be pleased!

  138. dvd says:

    Thanks Greg. I had read that it was off the car park but just expected to see a sign or too. I will explore.

    I lived in Walthamstow for around 18 months in the early 1990s so have a soft spot for the area. My first flat was alongside the Gospel Oak – Barking line at the point where it has left the Queens Road cutting and is at ground level before rising on the viaduct to Leyton Midland Road. Used to wait at a largely deserted Queen’s Road for Sunday trips to Hampstead Heath, I seem to recall it was hourly on Sundays. Loved sitting behind the driver when he left the blinds down on the DMU (Class 115 ?) with a live driver’s eye view.

    My second flat was near the Bakers Arms and I remenber taking the 48 bus occasionally and peering at the remains of the Lea Bridge platforms. I do hope the project goes ahead especially as Stratford is much more of an alluring destination now than it was 20 years ago.

  139. timbeau says:

    I don’t think 115s ever worked the Goblin. They were all based at Marylebone.
    When I first knew it, (when the western terminus was Kentish Town) it seemed to be operated by Class 116s, or occasionally a 127, from Cricklewood (127s were essentially 115s with a hydraulic transmission, 116s had standard 150hp engines instead of the 238hp jobs in the 115/127). However, by the 1990s class 104s were the standard fare

  140. Greg Tingey says:

    If you were on the East side of the line, then you were living in the old Queen’s Road Goods yard …..
    Nice collection of pine trees & Japanese Knotweed along the edge, there ….

    That view @ Leyton Midland Rd reminds me … there’s now an urban farm just to the West of there now, & looking out from the train you can see … the Llamas of Leyton” (!)
    ( Except that they are actually Alpacas, I think )

  141. lorna malcolm says:

    Ok……I saw somewhere in the Walthamstow web site work on Lea Bridge Road was suppose to start in February, is there any update?

  142. lorna malcolm says:

    This is Lea Bridge Road Station I am referring to

  143. Glenn Wallis says:


    Between 1989 to 1999 the T&H Branch had various power twins of Classes 101, 104, 108, 115, 116, 117 & 119 allocated to it, some hybrids, all from Old Oak Common until around 1992-93 when Bletchley supplied the stock. Class 121s were also frequent visitors when ‘our’ trains were borrowed for services considered more worthy.

  144. Snowy says:

    @ lorna Malcolm

    According to the MPs newsletter, 3 freight operating companies raised objections which are still being worked through by Network Rail.

  145. Greg Tingey says:

    Thanks for that – may I “lift” that ( or part of it ) as a quote, to be inserted into my pending & v long article on the NE London lines, as it is considerably more specific info than I had previously put in?

  146. Paul says:

    Freight companies (FOCs) almost always object to Network Rail’s proposals in Network Change Notices, (NCNs) usually for very minor operational reasons, and NR invariably adopt the Network Change after a few letters have gone back and forth.

    I suspect the above MP is reading far to much into the normal NCN discussion, it would be highly unusual for a FOC to involve itself in the local authority’s planning process.

  147. dvd says:

    That’s interesting, Greg. I lived in Yunus Khan Road, rabbit hutch new build flats, I thought I knew the history of the line but did not realise there used to be a goods yard on the site. Ten years later my office moved out of central London to Archway Tower and I was a few minutes walk from Upper Holloway station and used to wander around the area of the former Junction Road station (another good candidate for reopening) during lunch hours. Now live in Sidcup although if Boris’ s R25 orbital rail plans ever come to fruition, perhaps the wheel will come full circle and I’ll end up livimg near the elongated line once again.

  148. Glenn Wallis says:


    Sorry for delay in replying, of course you can lift that for your article. Actually I wrote a far more detailed account but accidentally deleted it when trying to post it!


    The Queen’s Road Goods Yard ran alongside the line to Boundary Road where I think the sign proclaimed it as Boundary Road Goods Yard. By the Yunus Khan Close access gates was the site of Queen’s Road signal box. If you look the old outside loo and coal bunker can still be seen while on the country side of the gates is a long abandoned concrete P. Way hut. I had an Aunt who lived off Boundary Road by the railway and I remember the yard surviving into the late 1960s – early 1970s, still housing coal merchants at the Queen’s Road end and a scrap yard at the Boundary Road end.

  149. Melvyn says:

    What this surely proves is this needs The Mayor of London and TFL to have control over new stations for London and not local boroughs ?

    I reckon while Lea Bridge Road Station work is to begin some of the stations announced at the same time are already open !

    Given this is a re-opening of a station and not a brand new station on a brand new site it should have been a much simpler job.

    Another station on this line that needs to be re-opened is Tufnell Park giving easy interchange to the nearby Northern Line Station .

    If London is to get the transport it needs then power has to be in the hands of TFL and London Mayor and not local councils some of which are dominated by the car lobby and thus have no interest in public transport. A job for the next government and Mayor to deal with.

  150. Malcolm says:

    @Melvyn you may be right about the re-opening desirability of Tufnell Park (NR). However the phrase “on this line” is a bit misplaced. Tufnell Park (NR) is on the North London line, currently running Overground trains. Lea Bridge is not.

  151. RichardB says:

    @ Melvyn and Malcolm – I am a little puzzled. Tufnell Park is a London Undeground station on the Northern line. It is open. I think you may be thinking of a station which was close by (within walking distance) on the Gospel Oak to Barking line (aka the GOBLIN) which was closed in 1943. This was Junction Road station which was located between Upper Holloway and Gospel Oak stations. I believe the local borough council would like the station reinstated as it would be a very short walk between it and the existing Tufnell Park station and provide a valuable interchange.

    I am not aware of any other station which bears or bore the name Tufnell Park but am happy to be corrected.

  152. Snowy says:

    Minutes from the Lea Bridge ward community forum again seem to suggest the delay is due to freight operating company concerns, specifically for future freight paths. New (again) date for construction to start is April following Network Rail led arbitration. Would a TfL or Network Rail lead team have avoided this?

  153. Quinlet says:

    This is called local democracy. It’s all very well saying that the Mayor and TfL should be able to stamp all over local democracy to get things done when the thing that’s getting done is what you want, but quite a different issue if you don’t want it. After all, it’s also the Mayor and TfL that have ambitions to build £40bn of new roads in London. Not even the borough that is most dominated by the car lobby (and I can’t actually think of one) has that sort of ambition.

  154. Malcolm says:

    @Richard B. Yes, I was thinking of Junction Road station, though if re-opened it would presumably be renamed Tufnell Park. And of course it is on the Goblin, not the NLL as I stupidly said. But Lea Bridge is on neither of these!

  155. timbeau says:

    Junction Road was indeed on the Tottenham and Hampstead Junction (now unofficially known as the Goblin), not the North London Line. However, if it were to re-open Tufnell park would be a very logical name for it. Apart from anything else, it is more precise as Junction Road is about 1km long, stretching all the way from Tufnell Park to Archway.

  156. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Melvyn – TfL do not appear to have a policy of station reopenings. There is nothing to stop them promoting reopenings but I feel they have their eyes set on other matters. Even if they did have a positive policy there is no reason to override local planning controls. It is quite right that local councils retain control and that local people can have their say. There would be no activity about reopening stations if it wasn’t for local councils. The wider problem though is whether councils have the requisite expertise and knowledge to properly manage the reopening of stations. I fear Lea Bridge is not the best example of competence and that’s a general remark not me taking a swipe at Waltham Forest.

    On Snowy’s point I do not believe the freight company objections could have been avoided. There are standard rail industry “change” processes which must be followed and any of the users of the network can raise concerns. You can’t get round this stage of the processes regardless of who leads it. I expect the freight companies are concerned that having passenger trains stop at Lea Bridge may reduce the number of freight paths on that line. It will be for Network Rail to demonstrate that there will no loss of freight paths as a result of two trains an hour stopping for a minute or so in each direction. I am very surprised by the remarks in the ward forum minutes which says only a bit of the stations’ funding is “at risk”. That’s at odds with what was in Council papers a few months ago but I guess there might have been agreement to roll the funding forward given the delays to the project. Something tells me a “green field” site might have been cheaper given there would be no need to demolish what’s already there nor all the faffing around trying to decide whether to have an entrance on Lea Bridge Road or on Argall Avenue.

    Where things do get interesting is in the future if we ever get to the point of the STAR (Stratford – Angel Road) works proceeding. That would push train frequencies at Lea Bridge up to 4 tph each way and that might well affect capacity for freight paths. If the STAR project suddenly has to pick up extra resignalling costs then its funding will be blown wide open given it’s on record that funding allocations are fixed and there is no flex to increase them. Clearly there will be some signalling work needed to add an extra track and link that in to the existing infrastructure. However that work is supposed to be confined to the north of Lea Bridge station.

  157. Ruthie says:

    I wrote to the leader of WF council on April 14th2015. Mr Chris Robbins replied, as he must have done to all correspondents, earlier this week.
    He wrote that he anticipates signing an agreement with network rail within the next two weeks, so that work can begin. This would be wonderful; has anyone else heard this?

  158. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ruthie – not heard that but then I expect announcements like starting work on a new station are banned during the general election campaign. The “news in 2 weeks” message gives space for the election and subsequent bartering to form a government to happen.

  159. Alan Griffiths says:

    Melvyn 23 February 2015 at 22:29

    “What this surely proves is this needs The Mayor of London and TFL to have control over new stations for London and not local boroughs ?”

    I think you’ll find that Waltham Forest’s share is coming from developer contributions from large developments.

  160. Melvyn says:

    @ WW if TFL want to take control of more and more of London mainline rail network then surely they will need to take on board a policy re station re- openings alongside brand new stations . Afterall , the London Mayor is meant to have a strategic role in London planning and if local councils don’t have the expertise in this area then TFL should offer its services ?

    The re-opening of Lea Bridge Road Station was just one of several stations announced by DFT in same press release.

    In order to show how progress at Lea Bridge Road is no as bad as it looks I have added a link below to news of Ilkeston Station which was on same DFT announced and how work on that station only began in March this year-

  161. Snowy says:

    I wonder if the announcement in 2 weeks will be as discussed by this source.

    Interestingly it confirms that it has been signalling the new station into the potential STAR project that the freight operators were concerned about.

    More bizarre however, seems to be the 2 construction funding phases. An 80% initial construction phase by Network Rail then a seperate tender in September to extend the platforms & install the signalling. This seems a very strange model to go for considering the problems still being experienced with Croxley, however perhaps this is the only way to ensure the DFT funding remains.

  162. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Melvyn – TfL will only respond to Mayoral policy and direction. That’s their central purpose in strategic terms. If we want more stations or far better interchanges then it’s down to the voters to force the hand of the Mayoral candidates for the next Mayoral term. In the case of Lea Bridge I’d argue it was never going to be on City Hall’s radar – it was only ever going to be the local council who’d push the case for it. If there is a criticism to be laid at Waltham Forest’s approach it’s that they have been badly caught out by rail industry processes and timescales. It seems they made a classic error of employing consultants who were not as qualified or experienced as they appeared and this is why we seem to be forever tripping over risk after risk after risk. We’ve had japanese knotweed, industry processes, different station designs and I suspect we’ve got even more stuff to fall over yet.

    @ Snowy – thanks for digging out that local paperwork. I agree the reference to STAR is slightly odd given (AFAIK) the go ahead for that scheme hasn’t happened and it will have its own industry consultation. Seems rather odd to delay one scheme by reference to another. I wasn’t aware that the 4 track section is proposed to reach Lea Bridge station anyway. I thought it reverted to two tracks just north of the station. If the freight industry is now saying there has to be a 4 track alignment through Lea Bridge and the station should be built to reflect that then the costs will have gone up again and there will be a need for a redesign.

    I’m also bemused by the do 80% idea – you either get the station or you don’t. Can you imagine the nonsense of 8 car trains being unable to stop there in the peaks because the platforms haven’t been extended? I can also foresee the “we can’t stop trains at your station because the signals haven’t been altered” excuse coming forth. I can see why the politicians are desperate to see the work start because they don’t a failure hung round their necks. However this is clearly not a happy project.

  163. Alan Griffiths says:

    From the Leader of Waltham Forest Council’s facebook page:

    Christopher Robbins added 3 new photos.·

    Work begins this week on restoring Lea Bridge Station.A grant was made to Waltham Forest after the Olympics for an infrastructure project.Myself and my Labour colleagues chose the station as the most important option for the Borough.There have been a number of ups and downs along the way but we are now on course for opening in 2016.My deputy, Clyde Loakes led a taskforce to get us started and already this project has create a huge amount of excitment and regeneration proposals.After 20 years of closure we can now look forward to major improvements to this part of Leyton.

  164. Ozcan Ekici says:

    i think they should build more stations and make a under grounded bit going under lea brige road and making many More connections

  165. Walthamstow Writer says:

    A small update from the local Waltham Forest newspaper.

    Clearance work has started and opening set for March 2016. Looking at the Network Rail website the objections from the freight companies don’t yet appear to have been resolved or, at least, the paperwork saying so isn’t yet on the site. I shall have to have a wander with my camera.

    While searching I see that the local Business Improvement District (BID) for Argall Avenue is very keen on the station and also wants the W19 bus extended past the station (currently stops about 5-6 mins walk away) and then down Orient Way to serve businesses there (ideally running on to Leyton ASDA or Olympic Park). It remains to be seen if TfL will do this or not but it would tie things together nicely.

  166. JG says:

    @Walthamstow Writer
    As I understand it – the objections from the freight companies have not yet been resolved. However, Waltham Forest BC resolved to release their part of the funds and proceed with 80% of the works in agreement with Network Rail – confident that the objections will be resolved soon. The thinking being that the risk is lower than the risk of losing the New Stations DfT funds, which would occur if work does not commence soon.

  167. mr_jrt says:

    …would reinstating the extra pair of lines under the bridge to enable the freight to bypass stopped passengers services help alleviate their objections (i.e. an island platform on inside platform loops)?

  168. Milton Clevedon says:

    Who would pay the £xx million involved? Certainly not the marginal cost freight operators. Revising the station project would also kill the station scheme – it’s on borrowed time already. More freight needs to run via F2N [Felixstowe to Nuneaton], not via Stratford.

  169. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mr JRT – one of the freight cos has raised the issue about losing the ability to reinstate those tracks given the new station entrance / ticket hall will be built over the alignment. As there are no firm plans for such a reinstatement I just think this is “flag flying” for the sake of it. It’s rather late in the day to be raising that but the Network Change may be the first formal opportunity for operating companies to comment.

    I’ve long felt the side design of the new station is wrong. It might be cheap but given the need for an overbridge, stairs and lifts anyway I fail to understand why the old entrance on Lea Bridge Road couldn’t have been used. We are only talking a very simple station that’s not even as complex as the simplest DLR stations.

    @ JG – I was aware of the council’s decision to proceed to the construction phase without resolution of the objections. Let’s hope it’s the right decision!

  170. Castlebar says:

    One man’s convenience in having a new station, is many other men’s inconvenience in having their daily commute delayed each way by an additional station they will never use.

    The decision becomes less easy,

  171. mr_jrt says:

    TBH, I’d be happy enough if the new entrance was built as planned as long as it’s in the classic “temporary” fashion so it could easily be removed if those tracks were ever needed in the future, (or if restoring the old arrangement on the bridge became viable).

  172. Anonymous says:

    I just passed lea bridge station site and saw demolition work in progress. They were removing the stairs from the platform to the booking hall, the wall at the back of the booking hall and the platforms surface.

  173. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon – that explains why there’s no Stratford – Tottenham Hale service today.

  174. Briantist (in Gigabit internet heaven) says:

    @Anonymous @Walthamstow Writer

    Was passing today so I took a few photos of them doing some work.

  175. Dave Lally says:

    Lea Bridge-gd to hear it is scheduled to re-open. I was there in 1985 (30 yrs ago) -esp for its very last day! So now what is the least used London NR Stn (I believe that in GB it is Teeside Airport….)

  176. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Dave Lally – Sudbury and Harrow Rd is apparently the least used NR station in Greater London. The usual caveats about the reliability of the ORR date apply. Diamond Geezer does an annual update on his blog.

  177. Chris C says:

    The station is called Teesside Airport (note two ‘s’ as it is the side of the Tees not the side of the Tee)

    No idea why some spell the station as Tees-side as nothing else on Teesside spells it that way.

    The Airport is now called Durham Tees Valley.

    [Warning; not just for Chris. Please keep digressions of this kind to a minimum. Yes, it’s good to spell things right, but at some point the off-topic scissors are going to get an outing… Malcolm]

  178. Snowy says:

    The official* announcement of construction from the DfT press office. Presumably this is of the first phase (80%) as I’ve yet to find confirmation that the freight concerns have been resolved, although as the press release mentions spring 2016 as an opening they are clearly hopefuly (unless this means the station opens but trains actually stopping not yet guaranteed).

    It also mentions 2018 as the year when frequency increases to 4tph could this be tying in with the STAR 3/4 tracking?

    *well in the political sense at least.

  179. Anomnibus (Lewisham People's Front [Catford Branch]) says:

    £11.6 million? For that?

  180. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Unfortunately yes, that’s how allocated costs have moved.
    It’s still worthwhile, the station is expected to be handling 1.2-1.3 million passengers pa by 2031, on a conventional analysis (so if unconventional, might be busier).
    See this link for the comparative journey time, which is one of the core reasons for the station getting DfT funding:
    Where you see a 5 minute time, that excludes waiting time, which is what is included in the following slides. The bus time also excludes waiting time.
    Yes. Dec 2017 or May 2018 are the likely STAR opening dates.

  181. Hedgehog says:

    This is going to sound like a stupid question but I’ve seen nothing on the STAR line. How is it going to be operated? Will it be like another LO shuttle?

  182. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Hedgehog – very little has emerged about the operation of STAR. I had assumed it would be a variation to the Greater Anglia franchise given they already run on the route. The only thing that has raised a small question mark for me was the recent TfL approval paper for the new trains for the Overground. In the list of possible order options were trains for STAR. I can’t see why TfL would have a rolling stock order option if they were not going to be the operator (or appoint the operator) for the service. However if that is correct then it raises a further question given the reference to 4 tph in the press release. Will the service be

    a) 4 tph run by entirely by a TfL appointed operator
    b) 2 tph run by a TfL appointed operator and 2 tph run by Abellio Greater Anglia
    c) 4 tph run by Abellio Greater Anglia
    d) 4 tph run by a TfL operator with 2 tph on the route run by Abellio but not stopping at Lea Bridge once the STAR works are complete.

    There’s an obvious risk with starting with a Greater Anglia service offering wider direct links up and down the Lea Valley and then removing it and mandating a change at Tottenham Hale once STAR starts. Nonetheless let’s hope STAR is actually built because the current half hourly service, despite being a tad slow [1], is well used. I’m certainly looking forward to having a regular and frequent service on that link.

    [1] inserted to avoid the mandatory Greg T remark about the journey time.

    @ Anomnibus – the costs have gone up and up. I think part of that is because there is an abandoned station there already which has to be part demolished, part rebuilt and pernicious plants like Japanese knotweed have to be removed. I also think there will be more surprises as the work progresses! I suspect that if it was a clear “green field” site that it would have been cheaper because you’d simply clear the site and then Network Rail could bring in their modular station bits and bolt it all together. The fact that Waltham Forest Council didn’t get the early stages of surveying and costing done properly hasn’t really helped matters at all. All that’s on record in council papers that have been linked to before.

  183. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @WW, Hedgehog

    STAR stands for Stratford-Tottenham (Hale)-Angel Road. It is what emerged as an affordable and somewhat lower cost scheme than the additional tracking to Brimsdown that was discussed with various options in the 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy.

    The infrastructure is a basic single track, diverging from the Stratford line just north of Lea Bridge station. This allows the extra service to avoid Coppermill Junction where the main line via Clapton joins, and also permits long freight trains to be bypassed if those are waiting for a path northwards at Coppermill coming from Felixstowe etc. A third platform and track will be provided at Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and at the new Meridian Water station south of the North Circular Road, which will be a substitute for the poorly located Angel Road stop.

    There will be some active, not just passive, provision for 4-tracking and the eventual Crossrail 2, for example with overhead line masts and 3rd track located where they need to be if/when a 4th track and platforms are built.

    As a single line limited to a single junction at its southern end, the 3rd track will be equipped for single train operation. A possible loop to allow a 15 minute service on the 3rd track was excluded for cost reasons, though there will be space to insert a loop if required in due course for more frequent shuttle services.

    The running time between Lea Bridge and Angel Road and back will be about 25 minutes, so permits an extra 2 tph, adding to the present 2 tph Stratford-Hertfordshire service.

    It is most efficient to operate the two services as a single entity, to minimise the number of additional trains required. Speeding up the turnround time at Stratford, which is often 20 minutes or longer to manage the train sequence on the Lea Valley main line, means that an arrival from Hertfordshire at Stratford will go to Meridian Water on its next journey leg, then bounce back to Stratford, then return towards Herts. Only one extra train is required for the full STAR+Herts service, providing it is operated by one franchise/concession. STAR will effectively offer 4 tph at intermediate stations, subject to some revision of the Stratford-Herts service to call at both stations north of Tottenham Hale. The requirement for a unified service may influence the choice of initial operator.

    It is also hoped, but not yet certain, that a regular 2tph service, initially at Angel Road then transferred to Meridian Water, will be provided sooner than December 2017 or May 2018, for the start-up period for Meridian Water development. At present Angel Road is mainly open at peak times.

  184. Malcolm says:

    @jonathan Roberts

    Thanks for that helpful summary.

    Just a quibble about the phrase “active provision” for the fourth track. I would have interpreted that as actually building it; I understand “passive provision” as not doing anything which might have to be undone if/when the fourth track comes along. I don’t suppose the term matters much; you have spelled out what you mean anyway.

  185. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ J Roberts – thanks for the update. I’m very disappointed though. I was aware of a range of track options but not the “do as little as possible” option you’ve described. Clearly the rail inflation gremlins have run riot on this particular scheme. I knew there were issues over funding and costs but not that we’ve ended up with this scheme. I thought Tottenham Hale was getting 4 tracks and 4 platforms to allow trains to pass each other on a separate STAR service. What you’ve described no doubt makes sense if you want to run the thing on an absolute rock bottom, minimum cost basis but it has little other merit. It means years of potential reworking and disruption at Tottenham Hale instead of one big hit to remodel tracks, platforms and the station itself. I know there would be works needed north of T Hale if 4 tracking is eventually approved but a one off go at a very busy spot like T Hale would surely be more sensible?

    I note you mention a rejig of the West Anglia timetable being needed – that was where I’d got to given the poor stopping patterns that currently exist on this route. I know it’s all constrained and Stansted trains cause problems but we’re going to spend a fortune to get very little. If the new service is run to Greater Anglia’s current “do nothing” standards, especially at quieter stations, then this is going to compare badly with what TfL funds on the Overground. Perhaps LOROL can give Greater Anglia the troublesome class 317s back to run on STAR when the new Adventras arrive for TfL services allowing the release of old stock?

  186. Fandroid says:

    I’m with Anomnibus – “11.6 million for that?”

    This is true boiling frogs syndrome. (Apologies to Roger Ford, but I am certain that he would agree.)

    It would be expensive at half that price, Japanese Knotweed, existing structures and all. Whatever happened to the glorious McNulty? Someone out there is reaping zillions from the railway industries’ failure to really press down hard on costs. But I suppose it’s only us what are paying, either as Taxpayers or Farepayers, so who really cares?

  187. Fandroid says:

    Unfortunately yes, that’s how allocated costs have moved.
    It’s still worthwhile, the station is expected to be handling 1.2-1.3 million passengers pa by 2031, on a conventional analysis (so if unconventional, might be busier).

    You are confusing what might look to be the price worth paying in terms of benefits gained with a realistic price that we should be paying for the work carried out. That way everyone pays top dollar and price inflation becomes the norm. A real privatised railway (American freight railroads for example), as opposed to the sham we now have, would never allow that sort of sloppy thinking to prevail. I suspect that British Rail would not have allowed it either!

  188. Malcolm says:


    Yes, but a real hard-nosed attitude, when the amounts quoted by contractors kept creeping up, would have been to say “Forget it, we’re going to take our ball home, and nobody gets the money, or the benefits”. If I want an extension built to my house, and no builders are prepared to do it for the price I think it ought to cost, then I have to either pay up or go without.

  189. Fandroid says:

    Malcolm. Let me just write two words: ” Workington North”. A brand-new temporary station built in six days for a reputed £300,000 (according to the local press). Yes, it was a grotty (but perfectly safe) temporary structure, and if you added on the various overheads, it probably really cost double that. However, it proved one old engineering adage: ‘time costs money’. Even if the contractors at Workington were charging the earth for their labour, it was impossible to spend the sort of ludicrous Lea Bridge prices because they were being driven very hard to get it finished.

    The problem at Lea Bridge is that only Waltham Forest LBC really care about it, but they have no expertise whatsoever in managing even modest railway projects (nor should they have). Network Rail don’t care, and are deeply steeped in the boiling frogs mentality. However, if they had any pride in their reputation, they would be utterly ashamed to be seen to be allowing an ‘innocent’ sponsor like WFLBC to be ripped off in this manner.

    As I said, “where has McNulty crept off to?”

  190. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @Malcolm, WW, Fandroid

    Malcolm: There is some active provision in the STAR project – for example the overhead line masts will span the full 4-track formation and be ready to be used when the 4th track comes along. The 3rd track will be aligned for fast running, even though 40-50 mph is all you need for the 3rd track service.

    WW: The STAR costs are indeed greater than the original NR judgment which was in the £70-80m range. Making the funding, assembled from various sources, match the emerging costs has been an interesting challenge. To try to do more at this stage, such as more works all at once at Tottenham Hale, could have broken the piggy bank. As it is, NR is bearing the identified costs of active provision for 4-tracking.

    @Fandroid: This link below refers back to the LB Waltham Forest report on Lea Bridge station costs, last autumn: . I don’t know if there are boiling frogs which are also having to be rescued from the station site (!) along with the knotweed, but it does seem that the final list of unavoidable works is much larger than foreseen at first, and some of those with large numbers attached. As one example, Network Rail is charging £450,000 for DeltaRail’s work to change all the industry documentation and electronic referencing to include Lea Bridge station. Back in the 1980s, West Yorks PTE got entire stations built and opened for less than that. However, as Malcolm says, either you want the station or not (LBWF does want it), and Network Rail is something of a monopoly specifier and supplier.

  191. Slugabed says:

    A very parochial question here….Does all this mean that the level crossing at Northumberland Park will simply be closed without replacement? I’ve not heard anything either way about this on the local grapevine….

  192. Fandroid says:

    Jonathan. We are drifting off-topic here, but Lea Bridge does vividly illustrate the point. Why does Network Rail have systems that require contractor activity costing £450,000 to add just one new station? Generously (very), I would suggest that a decent system would require one engineer to work for 1 week to do the modifications. Say he’s an expensive engineer with charge-out rates of £100 per hour, then the cost should be around £40,000, one tenth of the quoted price. Many would say that the Network Rail’s original system is extremely poorly designed, and why are LBWF being asked to pay for its obvious shortcomings?

  193. Malcolm says:

    It makes me wonder whether there is a similar cost to remove a station from the systems. If there is, that may help to defeat some marginal closure cases! May not do much good of course, if you can achieve the same thing by cutting back the service to one train per week.

  194. Malcolm says:

    @Fandroid. If the arrangement was to charge LBWF for the system amendments at cost, then that would mean what it actually costs, not what it might have cost if various different decisions had been made five years ago. Going back to my builder, he’s not going to give me a discount because some other builder years ago did not make sensible provision for extension. The phrase “hard-nosed” comes to mind.

  195. Jonathan Roberts says:

    I believe that most of the level crossings on the Lea Valley main line are ones that NR would wish to shut or replace with grade-separation. With Crossrail 2 it will become essential, if not well before then. They are one of the train speed limiting factors along the route. Widening the effective track width, with 3 and 4 tracks, while maintaining a vehicle crossing, is unlikely to be acceptable in terms of safety.

    While undertaking station counts at Northumberland Park for the West Anglia Route Group, I have seen examples of dangerous use of the crossings just as the red lights have told traffic to stop and the barriers are initiated. White van man is not the only miscreant. At Enfield Lock schoolchildren have been seen to play ‘chicken’, after leaving school in the afternoon.

    Drivers get frustrated, of course, since the barriers can be closed for long periods at peak times. The local highway authority at Northumberland Park will be LB Haringey, and they would be expected to have an input into the form of replacement. A footbridge / cycle facility will be important for local access to the Meridian Way industrial estates and the Lee Valley Regional Park.

    With a 6 hour pedestrian and vehicle count at Northumberland Park in Autumn 2011, during the afternoon and then the evening peak, barriers including ‘red time’ were closed to traffic for 63% of the time, while ‘traffic open’ periods allowing more than 1 minute free flow were only 31% of the time, and for 2 minutes or longer were only 26% of the time. As many pedestrians and cyclists used the crossing, as road vehicles, in the peak period.

  196. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Fandroid – yes there are cost issues in Network Rail and there are well documented problems with asset strategies and procurement policies / decisions. However your point about “only the council cares” points to a wider issue. So much of the work that Network Rail has had piled on is politically driven. This adds a dimension that is poisonous to efficiency. The supply chain knows exactly what is going on and knows Network Rail is “under the cosh” on these schemes. Therefore they can (almost) charge what they like because the political deadline and “glad handing” opportunities are more important than cost. Does anyone imagine for one second that the supply chain possibly bidding to do the STAR works is unaware of the Enfield Council deadlines and link to commitments made to the housing developers at Meridian Water? It’s Millennium Dome syndrome all over again. Create immovable deadlines and you relinquish some / all of your negotiating position.

    Hopefully Sir Peter Hendy can help instill some corporate discipline at Network Rail, give the politicians the hard truth about artificial unrealistic deadlines and then put in place a viable and efficient relationship with the supply chain even if a few “sacred cows” have to be slaughtered along the way. That’s a lot that needs doing but if control is not re-established quickly there’ll be nothing getting done because costs and project delays will have run out of control on too many schemes. Note I’m not saying *every* NR scheme is in a mess before any affronted people working on or near the London Bridge or Reading schemes pipe up and say “unfair”.

  197. Milton Clevedon says:

    Many projects are subject to political and delivery deadline objectives, that’s inevitable. However not sure that the onwards supply chain is always the problem.

    As an over-simplification, there has been a NR tendency to ‘put extra costs on the RAB credit card’ as the way out for a number of project issues, subject to ORR scrutiny about the overall project worth and homilies about efficiency.

    Optimism Bias might also get used up fully rather than partially or even not at all. Indeed however well founded (or not) the OB process is, it has created headroom for cost inflation which might not be there otherwise.

    The RAB option is no longer available, so some hard internal NR truths about focusing on accurate project design as well as asset management might be starting to come home to roost.

  198. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ MC – Understood but TfL / LU took away project contingencies from sponsor and project manager control years ago. Any monies held are risk based and are held centrally and the sponsor must separately request the release of risk monies and / or contingency (if such was authorised when funding approval was granted). I’ve been a client under the old rules where you had “flex” available and it’s inevitable that you are more “relaxed” than you would be in a tighter, more controlled regime. Far more emphasis, as you point out, on getting the scope right then the design right and the procurement strategy right. This gives you a better chance of avoiding scope creep and the costs being at the right level. It’s not perfect but far better than it was.

  199. Briantist (post-operative...) says:

    @Jonathan Roberts

    I’m finding this all very informative. One small point

    “£450,000…Back in the 1980s, West Yorks PTE got entire stations built and opened for less than that. ”

    That would be £1,293,640 at today’s prices.

    As I used to live there at the time, I do recall Outwood (near my school!) and Sandal&Adbrig stations opening.

    They weren’t much in the way of stations: they were basically bus stops. The ticket system used at the time (“Saverstrips”) were punched on the trains, which as I recall were Pacers, at most two cars long.

    Given the local weather conditions, I think there might have been a bus shelter. This was before the days of CCTV too. From memory the access over the line was existing footbridges. Outwood stations was in a low-density “homes for heros” pebbledash council estate.

    They certainly were not of the size or quality expected to boost 21st Century high density, high quality housing on a four-track railway.

  200. Anonymous says:

    Many of these high costs will be attributable to labour costs, because many of the people doing the work these days are contractors. I work for my own company and who supplies me to a contracting agency, who sub-contracts me to a construction company, who sub-contracts me to NR who then charges the customer. My rate is around double what I would get if I worked directly for the customer, but each level adds its own costs on. The benefit of contracting is that you only need to pay for staff when you need them, but my contract has been renewed 3 times and with currently planned workload, I am told it my contract is likely to continue as long as I want.

    This is all nice for me, but I am not clear how this is beneficial to the tax-payer.

  201. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Briantist – no doubt some of the WYPTE financed stations were basic but they did something very important. They showed that there was merit / benefit in reversing the old policy of shutting down the railway. I certainly have no proof but I’ve long felt that West Yorkshire was pretty pivotal in reawakening interest in opening stations and in some cases lines. According to Wiki 21 stations have been reopened in WY since 1982 and two lines have regained passenger services. That’s a decent record and a look at the ORR stats (yes I know!) shows some decent levels of patronage at many of the stations. I doubt London can boast that scale of station (re)opening in the same period on the NR network. Clearly DLR and LU have added stations over the same period. Someone will now prove me wrong. 😉

  202. Robert Butlin says:

    Perhaps over a longer period but the London Borough of Hackney has rather a lot of re opened stations. Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Central, Homerton, Hackney Wick, Dalston Junction, Hoxton, Haggerston, London Fields. Not quite sure if Shoreditch High St is in Hackney, nor sure whether Cambridge Heath closed in the 1970s.

  203. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Robert B – fair comment about the borough of Hackney. Plenty of reopenings there. Shoreditch High St entrance is just inside Tower Hamlets by a matter of metres but the station structure western end straddles the boundary with Hackney. A bit like Farringdon Crossrail being in two different authority areas (Islington and City of London).

  204. Steven Taylor says:

    @Robert Butlin

    Just for the historical record, Hackney Wick station is not a re-opening, as the 1980 station is the first one on the site.

    Cambridge Heath closure was due to fire damage, but in the 1980s. Joe Brown has dates as 27/07/1984 to September 1984 (initial fire damage), and from 17/02/1986 to 16/03/1986 for re-building.

  205. Greg Tingey says:

    and Network Rail is something of a monopoly specifier and supplier.
    ISTR [I seem to recall] that once upon a day, Chiltern had this exact problem … so they just ignored Railtrack/NR & went ahead & built their station, anyway, much to the latter’s embarrasment.
    Can someone else remember the details?

  206. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – Chiltern have done this twice but in different ways. Warwick Parkway was entirely funded by Chiltern and cost £5.2m (source – Wikipedia). This was purely because Chiltern felt there was sufficient demand and development potential to support the station. The second example is Aylesbury Vale Parkway. However this did have government funding for track and signalling changes as it converted freight only tracks to passenger use. The station was funded by Laing Rail and Bucks CC and opened about 18 months earlier than expected. Again the station was put in place to support planned housing development nearby hence the CC and govt funding. Whether any of this has lessons for elsewhere remains to be seen given Chiltern have had such a long franchise and have been able to take commercial decisions not available to other TOCs.

  207. Alan Griffiths says:

    Cambridge Heath station is in Tower Hamlets. The E2 postcode is a clue.

    [Note from moderator to would-be commentors on this message. Please do not digress onto the general relationship between postcodes and local authority boundaries. Malcolm]

  208. Briantist (post-operative...) says:

    @Walthamstow Writer
    ” no doubt some of the WYPTE financed stations were basic but they did something very important. They showed that there was merit / benefit in reversing the old policy of shutting down the railway. I certainly have no proof but I’ve long felt that West Yorkshire was pretty pivotal in reawakening interest in opening stations and in some cases lines. According to Wiki 21 stations have been reopened in WY since 1982 and two lines have regained passenger services. ”

    I’ve found – and I can’t actually believe it – but the WYPTE put out a little booklet in 1988, Public Transport in West Yorkshire: Ten Year Of Achievement, A personal history by Colin Speakman.. It does cover the rail stations in Chapter 4. It is rather jolly about what it calls “railbuses” so I guess that a pinch of salt needs to be taken.

    IMHO, I think I have to agree about the excellent work forging ahead with reversing the evils done to the rail network by a certain Mr Beetching. However, I would venture that the same problems exists too: re-opening stations in places where they used to be, rather than taking the opportunity to put stations in where they are needed.

    In both West Yorkshire and East London, the change from industry to residential and retail could put stations in many places where they are needed today or for tomorrow, rather than yesterday.

  209. Pedantic of Purley says:


    This may be the reinstatement of a platform at Princes Risborough or possibly the construction of Warwick Parkway.

    As usual, I think you have put a twist in the story which wasn’t quite as you describe.

    Chiltern did not “ignore Railtrack”. I cannot remember but I am pretty sure this was all done with Railtrack’s co-operation and their must have been payment to Railtrack for at least some of the work involved. I don’t think Railtrack were embarrassed in any way. Firstly, why should they be? Secondly, in the early days it would have taken an awful lot to embarrass Railtrack.

    I would say Chiltern put their money where their mouth was. Of course they were in a unique position to do this because they had a 20 year franchise. It is almost impossible to recoup such spending on a normal 7 year franchise and there is no guarantee that the next franchisee will purchase the station or platform off you. Of course if you can get the DfT to make this happen then things are different.

    The situation is no different now. Network Rail won’t construct a new platform or new station unless someone else pays, it is operationally necessary or they believe they can more than recoup their costs in access payments. Just because someone wants it, as Chiltern did, is not a good enough reason.

  210. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous of 21.34 – I couldn’t agree more about costs “hidden” further down the supply chain. A couple of examples:

    – a little while ago, the audit side of the firm I then worked for was invited to cast an eye over the books of a firm that, amongst other things, specialised in electrical isolations with a view to the owner getting a bank loan to buy out his wife (he was having a midlife crisis with his HR director…). They had a monopoly in the rail sector. and employed people at £80k (!) for this work (BR having paid £16k or so), and having a monopoly, charged accordingly; this cost was then passed via their head contractor (firms like Balfours) to NR, to whom this outrageous element was invisible. I warned about the work being taken back in house and the loan was refused; don’t know what became of the HR director, tho’ my accounting colleagues thought she wasn’t good vfm.

    In a similar vein, I undertook a study of Royal train costs for the Palace and discovered that the entire supply chain simply accumulated costs, added their percentage, and passed the cumulative total upwards to the monopoly supplier (EWS). No incentive to cut costs at all. [I then had a fascinating discussion with the Household about the possibility of tendering the work and if so, who might be invited to tender….]

    @MC/Briantist – the rising cost of new stations has consistently puzzled old railway hands. Suspicion falls in part on increased safety requirements and also over specification. Remember the 2m platform lengthening at Portchester which cost a six figure sum). In NSE days (sorry to sound Eyeorish), we liked to compare the cost of a reasonable station with indoor facilities with, say, the cost of building a house.

    @WW – Chiltern wearing their Laing hat, had it in mind to launch a cheap modular station concept, of which Warwick was supposed to be the prototype. In another part of the wood, my firm had been developing a self-financing station modernisation programme and we did talk to Chiltern about a possible JV. The concept was killed off by RT/NR’s property department who claimed that they had in place plans for re-developing and modernising every station in the country. We trooped out of the room muttering “Liar, Liar, Liar” and how right we were.

  211. Malcolm says:

    @Graham. More fascinating anecdotes.

    The mention of the cost of building a house does, however, bring to mind (and not in a good way) the comparison mentioned here between extending platforms and building a garden patio!

  212. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – yes, patios were also mentioned at the time! (Perhaps less of a fair comparator, given the relative wear and tear rates).

  213. Fandroid says:

    Having calmed down a bit, I can add some thoughts as to why the frogs are boiling.

    I suspect that some of these (astronomic) rising costs are due to the ‘main contractor’ syndrome. In my day, I was as guilty as anyone in commending this route for the construction of new assets. The public sector, in which I spent my formative years, was just about utterly useless in managing big projects. Handing the management over to organisations that knew what they were doing was the right move at the time. We got certainty over delivery, but at a price. The price was worth paying then because the costs of our previous mismanagement were even higher. But life doesn’t stand still. Those main contractors have got used to the easy life and pile overheads onto overheads, as described by both Anonymous and Graham H. These things go in cycles, like macroeconomics. Anyone who thinks that they have found the perfect way to procure projects, and so just have to keep on doing the same thing for evermore to get best value for money, has learnt nothing about life.

    There is no escape from having to continuously apply strong and good management. A tiresome and demanding job that never allows for much relaxation, but it reaps dividends. NR seems to have drifted into a trap, relying far too much on contracting out its responsibilities. As the man said, they really need to get a grip!

  214. Malcolm says:

    Fandroid says “The public sector… was just about utterly useless in managing big projects.

    This is often stated, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that is was sometimes, perhaps even often, true. I can’t help thinking, however, that it must have always been a bit of an over-generalisation. When an industry was nationalised, it typically kept much of its management, and it seems improbable that they would all suddenly forget how to manage large projects.

    I would agree with the conclusion, which you seem to be pointing at, that the “in house” and the “contracted out” ways of managing these things should both be in use, each to act as a check on the other.

  215. Fandroid says:

    @Malcolm. ‘Public Sector’ was possibly a bit of an over-generalisation. I was thinking of public utilities and public authorities (such as the NHS) rather than industries that got nationalised. A mix of strategies (in-house and contracted out) would seem to be a reasonably good way forward but it really does depend on hiring the right people for the in-house parts (both to run projects and to manage contractors). Any other way and the organisation loses control.

  216. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm / Fandroid – having done a bit of procurement and a bit of contract management in my time I agree that bland sweeping statements don’t help. There are undoubtedly very talented people in the public sector and there are also some dolts. Ditto in the private sector. I lost count of discussions with colleagues about rather dubious “commercial” judgement and decisions when the issues and motivations are often very clear and straightforward and a solution can be achieved without losing ground or wasting money. There are exceptions where “difficult discussions” are necessary but they’re rare (or should be).

    Where the public sector can lose out is that it does get “stuck in its ways” and gets outwitted by the more “fleet of foot” profit seeking private sector. That’s why flexing its approach and developing its staff to be highly competent and commercially astute is important. Constraining “egos” also has to be done or else you can end up with rather massive commercial problems on your plate. The public sector also may not have the resources to be right up with the very best ways of doing things even if it does have to be very efficient and good stewards of public funds. The private sector can justify the investment in the most efficient practices and technology if it reduces costs / boosts profits. TfL has tried to fix some of these issues and it will be interesting to see what influence in these areas Sir Peter Hendy brings to bear in Network Rail.

  217. JIm Cobb says:

    Projects fail just as often in the private sector but rarely get as much publicity. The private sector can also be just as set in its ways and just as inefficient, even in the face of obvious savings. At the end of the day, it is just people – some are good at what they do, most are less so – the difference is that the private sector often rewards the good ones better.

  218. Malcolm says:

    Jim Cobb says “the difference is that the private sector often rewards the good ones better.

    and, it is often claimed, is more effective at “getting rid of” the less good ones. (I have often thought that is rather an offensive phrase to use about people, but that is by the way). This claimed difference between sectors is another one which undoubtedly has an element of truth, but may be less generally applicable than is often supposed.

  219. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – having worked in both the public and private sectors and been close to project delivery in both, I think you are right. Both can be hidebound by process and both can be driven by individuals with a clear view of how to deliver what is needed. The most common mistakes appear to be (a) not managing the client – leading to expensive interference in design, and (b) and obsession with process – “This is week 36; why aren’t you performing module 11.47? – when new circumstances have revealed that module 11.47 is not only redundant but positively harmful if performed.* Others may have different experiences , of course.

    * This applies especially to soft projects such as reforms or financial reviews, which are usually subject to the unexpected: “You mean there’s no legislation defining a tramway!?” – a real example from a 2 months into a tramway project undertaken in Lithuania… Or – an Estonian example – ” How come your rail regulator hasn’t heard of the need to insure operators against third party claims?”

  220. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham H
    that the entire supply chain simply accumulated costs, added their percentage, and passed the cumulative total upwards to the monopoly supplier
    Yup, that’s the problem, all right. But, how to identify all these cost-enlarging scams (which is what they are, in practice) & weed them out?
    Might be easier said than done?

    Wasn’t the “main contractor / separate sub-contactors” problem encountered by Robt Stephenson on the London & Birmingham?
    It seems, as you say that what goes around, comes around.

  221. Graham H says:

    @Greg T – call me old-fashioned (Opposition cries of “No!”) but there’s no substitute for having informed customers who are able to drill down into what they are being told – and who are prepared to challenge it. Consultants and passing snakeoil salesmen don’t like that pragmatic answer.

    LT used to proudly show off their “extended arm” approach to contracting; I wonder what colleagues who were there actually thought of it.

  222. timbeau says:

    “Cambridge Heath station is in Tower Hamlets. The E2 postcode is a clue.”
    Wary of the moderator’s strictures on generalising, I will be specific and merely observe that there are four stations in E2, but only three of them are in LB Tower Hamlets: Hoxton is in LB Hackney

  223. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Waltham Forest Council press release about construction work starting. Fits in alongside the DfT press release Snowy quoted earlier.

  224. Greg Tingey says:

    timbeau / moderators
    A general point, worth remembering …
    Postcode is no guide at all, as to which administrative area any location is actually in.

    [and that is about as far as we can go with postcode discussion PoP]

  225. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I went past Lea Bridge today on a AGA train. Several interesting things spotted.

    1. The site beside Argall Avenue is now hoarded off with a large “kink” where the station ticket hall / entrance will be constructed.

    2. Platform surface areas cleared.

    3. The former sb freight track that ran behind the sb platform has also been cleared behind the platform and for a long way south.

    4. The old staircases from Lea Bridge Rd to the platforms have been demolished.

    5. A site area and access road is being constructed off Orient Way right beside the top edge of Temple Mills sidings. This was the most surprising aspect of the scheme – I didn’t expect that’s where all the activity would be. I am wondering if it will later become the site office location for later STAR works.

    Sorry no photos from the train – the window was too dirty but I might have a wander on foot and see what snaps I can get and put them in the Flickr LR group.

  226. Anonyminibus says:

    Strange how, now something is ACTUALLY happening (aledgedly), everyone has stopped writing about it.

  227. straphan says:

    This is not always the case – see how many posts there are in the various threads to do with Thameslink and the London Bridge works.

  228. Spottyfaceselfie says:

    [Comment by Spottyfaceselfie / Don / Anonymous removed as inappropriate. Malcolm]

  229. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Spottyfaceselfie – yes in theory you can send trains all over the place. However there are no plans for that to happen because TfL is concentrating on sorting out existing service patterns, not creating new ones. Given TfL’s preferred standard is 4 trains per hour where they provide a service then there is much work to do to get that to apply to West Anglia. We also have 2 years of effort to electrify the GOBLIN and for half that time the service will be part or wholly suspended. To be frank there simply isn’t the track or terminal capacity for another 4 tph service along part of the GOBLIN or crossing over the T Hale route to reach Stratford. It seems to be a monumental struggle to put in a bit of track, build some platforms and do some resignalling to give us a rock bottom basic STAR service. Heck even Lea Bridge Station seems likely to cost 3 or 4 times the original estimate.

    Sorry to sound gloomy but with the political storm that is enveloping Network Rail we will be doing extremely well to get Crossrail finished, wires strung up to the West Country and along the GOBLIN. I’m becoming not a little sceptical about STAR too even if there is London political support that doesn’t mean very much when the government is being hammered over its failure to “deliver”, even in the loosest of senses, the “Northern Powerhouse”. It now seems to have become the “Northern Powercut” and is a term of derision. That won’t be doing much for the Chancellor’s demeanour or his willingness to write cheques for more investment in London. Put the wild ideas to one side and just hope that we get the promised schemes actually delivered on time and without cost overruns. Then be prepared for an investment famine to hit TfL and London area TOCs come 2018/19.

  230. timbeau says:


    I’m not quite sure what you have in mind – diverting Enfield/Cheshunt/Chingford and Barking via South Tottenham and Lea Bridge to Stratford?
    1. Barking would require reversal at South Tottenham
    2. Chingford would require re-opening of the Hall Farm Curve
    3. South Tottenham’s connections are single lead, and couldn’t possibly cope with the volume of traffic
    4. South Tottenham’s platforms are too short for 8 car trains, (indeed, trains towards Seven Sisters can’t use the platforms at all, as the crossover is in the station) and would be even shorter if the junction were modified to double-lead
    5. How would Clapton, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Rectory Road, Hackney Downs, Cambridge Heath, London Fields, or Bethnal Green be served?
    6 How would Chingford, Enfield etc passengers get to Liverpool Street? Certainly there isn’t room on the main line from Stratford – that’s why the direct line to Tottenham Hale via Hackney was built in the first place.

  231. Hedgehog says:

    Am I being dim? I’m looking at Carto Metro and can’t figure out how to get a train from Chingford to Stratford without reversing it twice.

    Also, what on earth is going on with STAR? Will it be another LO line? Will it extend the DLR upwards? I’ve seen nothing official.

  232. Hedgehog says:

    @timbeau Thank you. Carto Metro implied that it no longer existed.

    At some point in the future, do you think it would be worth building intermediate stations between Stratford & Lea Bridge and Lea Bridge & Tottenham Hale?

  233. timbeau says:

    Carto Metro is right – it doesn’t. It closed in 1970, although it had seen no regular passenger services for at least twenty years before that.
    The earthworks are still intact though.

  234. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    As has long been expected Balfour Beatty (the northwest electrification contractor) walked away from the contract on Thursday (H1 financial results day) and another contractor is expected to be appointed on Monday (tomorrow).

    This raises an issue that might not be immediately clear what the answer is – where the specialist plant a replacement contractor would use would come from?

    Apart from BB both NR and Amey have traditional (non High output) electrification equipment or will BB loan/hire/sell the equipment to the new contractor as part of the deal to walk away? What happens could have an effect on smaller schemes like Goblin particularly if there is a need to ensure delivery in the revised time scales in the NW? Or is Goblin possible a good reason to invest in some of the new smaller plant items if there is going to be a continuing electrification programme especially with more infill schemes nationally?

  235. Greg Tingey says:

    Stratford – Lea Bridge
    Only place is the crossing of Ruckholt Rd & no – too close to Stratford.
    Lea Bridge – Tottie Hale
    No tarmace’d through roads cross the railway between those points.

    That is “interesting” as in “Interesting Times” …
    What seems to be missing in all the agonising, “pausing” & other twists-&-turns over electrification costs (etc) is that good practice & lower-cost methods do exist.
    See the current issue of Modern Railways regarding such a succesful method in Scotland.
    “All” that needs to be done, surely, is for that best practice to become normal practice.
    Or am I being too simplistic?

  236. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – oh dear, I didn’t know that BB had walked off the job. That’s quite telling really as they’ve been doing electrification work for decades. If I have a worry about the GOBLIN it’s simply the varying nature of the infrastructure which needs different approaches and has different risks. It’s also worth bearing in mind it’s a two stage project with wiring of freight / stock transfer links following later. If wider works get rejigged I wonder if phase 2 will ever happen? The other issue for the GOBLIN is the simple one that the time window to do it is fixed because of Crossrail. There is little room for any slippage from here on in. I’m still not clear that the scheme has actually got out of GRIP 3 to allow a confirmed scope, price and procurement options. If it hasn’t got out of GRIP 3 then I’d suggest we’re in trouble.

    The more I read about NR’s electrification works the more I’m left wondering what on earth is going on. There are examples of wires having been strung with little problem – the rebuilt North London Line is one example where wiring was replaced and extended. TfL managed to requip the ELL and build extensions albeit with third rail with no great hassle. LU has managed to convert its current rails and supporting power infrastructure on upgraded lines with no apparent public disruption so expertise and competence for electrification work does exist in the UK.

  237. AlisonW says:

    WW: “expertise and competence for electrification work does exist in the UK.” Are you suggesting that there would be an improvement in progress were TfL to take over?

    I suppose the move of Sir Peter is, in that case, a good start!

  238. ngh says:

    Re AlisonW,

    I suspect not – there is a shortage of skilled people in all area of the OHLE at the moment due the the huge quantity of work being undertaken and planned so the main advantage TfL could bring might be the willingness to pay contractors more* (higher priority to TfL?) combined with a greater level of PM and oversight.

    * which just then shifts the problem elsewhere.

    There are plenty of problems with equipment and logistics too but they can’t be completely solved by a traditional “throw more manpower and money at it” type solution in this case as there isn’t the manpower.

    We should have nice report form Sir Peter soon with very long list of what didn’t go as well as it could have.

    One advantage that Goblin does have is plenty of time to be very accurately surveyed and have the prerequisite civil work done before any actually electrification work starts so fewer nasty surprises? (the civils work on the route has been going on for quite a while any way as some of the structures weren’t in the greatest shape)

  239. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alison W – not suggesting a TfL takeover. Just commenting that some people, including Network Rail, have managed to do electrification work in recent times without all the woes that seem to be affecting current projects. However Ngh has remarked that a skill shortage is the key issue and that can’t be fixed quickly in the short term – unless you import resource and then you have problems about language, knowledge of the UK’s standards, assurance processes etc etc. I thought there had been also been problems with scope setting and the use of specialist plant too but perhaps the lack of skills sits behind those issues too. If you don’t have the requisite expertise and “challenge” in the organisation then you’re doomed to learn solely by making mistakes!

  240. Nameless says:

    This reminds me of advice once received from an international chess master.
    “Only the foolish learn by their own mistakes. The wise learn from the mistakes made by others.”

  241. ngh says:

    Re WW and Alison W,

    There are certainly equipment, scope, planning logistics and access issues, but there are signs from the NorthWest that people and the people working productively has been a big issue. When Liverpool – Manchester started going wrong NR lent BB the WCML electrification maintenance equipment when it could to help make up time but this only made the situation less bad and put the cost through the roof and they still had the lack of people issue.
    Doing short runs and leaving problem location till last didn’t help.

    GWML (High Output) also signs of not being able to work efficiently Apparently if they have a problem with a pile (the piling rig often isn’t powerful enough) so they stop early on that individual job they don’t have plan B to put in another extra pile ahead of schedule elsewhere ditto if everything goes well so they end up ahead of schedule they can’t get ahead of schedule because the logistics have been set up planned and scheduled on a just-in-time basis with minimal flexibility. The staff have to contend with an extra constraint in addition to all the others and apparently ended up finishing early on many occasions initially. Apparently they have been making changes but if people are one of the limitations not getting the most you could get out of them is very unfortunate.

  242. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I know it’s easy to comment from an armchair but it does explain some of what I saw when I travelled on the GWML a few weeks ago. I was somewhat bemused to see random masts and spans and sometimes piles and then no piles and discarded materials and it just seemed bizarrely random. I did wonder quite what was going on as I had expected to see a steady progression of wiring infrastructure west of Airport junction.

    The last overhead electrification I saw happen was the Tyne and Wear Metro years ago. There it was fairly straightforward but they used concrete piles which had to be created, allowed to set and then have masts installed then the span wires and catenary, contact wires etc. That was done in what looked to my teenage eyes a relatively straightforward manner and sequence. Obviously I don’t know if there were commercial issues or not. The wiring was something entirely new and installed on an old BR network and seemed to work OK. Just seems immensely strange that 35 plus years later we’ve lost so much knowledge for what is pretty much standard railway equipment and practice the world over.

  243. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Stockley Bridge Jn / Airport Jn to Maidenhead is Balfour Beatty by traditional means (as part of Crossrail), the rest is Amey with the High Output train as part of GWML. Might this explain some disjointedness?
    But Road Rail Vehicle (RRV) piling rigs and more subcontractors have been brought in to supplement the High Output train based ones.

    It think the problem is trying to do it better quality, quicker, cheaper* (hollow steel piles wherever possible instead of concrete and more automation in installation) however the productivity hasn’t been achieved.

    *Headspans and other cheap bits aren’t being used because they cost more in unreliability over the lifecycle.

    The ECML is being refitted in places with the new Series 1 high speed equipment** (4 track headspans replaced with gantry GWML style but reusing the existing masts) so may be the teams doing the ECML will also do Goblin (may be a testbed for the new series 2 fittings (for non high speed lines)?

    **Required for 140mph single pantograph or 100?mph+ multi pantograph operation.

  244. Malcolm says:

    WW says “..we’ve lost so much knowledge..”

    Based on what ngh has said, it’s not so much losing knowledge, as trying to improve things, and the improvements haven’t worked as well as planned. Maybe the electrification is still being done faster, more cheaply, more productively, or to a better standard than 35 years ago (or at least some of these) but, crucially, it’s being delivered late, which means very bad consequences may follow.

  245. Graham H says:

    @WW -I do wonder if the culprits are (a)the method of paying contractors – presumably stage payments, and (b) oversimplistic project management- what %age of the work is complete?. I have seen the latter employed frequently even in alegedly sophisticated industries such as petrochemicals*. Put a and b together , and you are virtually begging your contractor to go for the quick hits.

    *Sometimes with amusing/stupid results – writing a report on a piece of research for AGIP in relation to oil loading facilities, because the project plan described producing a report, none of the time spent doing the research showed up, so the work went from being zero per cent complete over three months to 100% complete in five days; AGIP really couldn’t get their mind round that.

  246. Greg Tingey says:

    Just seems immensely strange that 35 plus years later we’ve lost so much knowledge for what is pretty much standard railway equipment and practice the world over.

    That is entirely down to the politicians [let’s leave it there, shall we? Malcolm]

  247. Anomnibus says:

    @Graham H:

    Do you mean this Agip*, part of the Italian Eni group?

    I’ve done a couple of translation jobs for them. You poor chap. Here, have a virtual beer.

    * Italians tend to only capitalise the first letter of acronyms. Nobody seems to know why.

  248. Graham H says:

    @Anomnibus -the very same. I was advising on the layout of some oil loading facilitiesfor rail in Kazakhstan (fortunately didn’t have to travel further than Brentford/Amsterdam). Their offices were noteable for the fact that where in a normal place, bundles of conventional periodicals, such as the Economist, would have been delivered for distribution to the management, in their case, it was bundles of pornographic magazines.

    I will save your i-beer until I have dinner. Thank you.

  249. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I took a few snaps today of the station from a passing rail replacement bus. I have loaded them to the blog’s Flickr group for those who are interested.

  250. Snowy says:

    Just found the STAR train service pattern for the 2018 timetable as part of the East Anglia franchise invitation to tender documentation.

    4 trains per hour to stop at all STAR stations including Lea Bridge with a maximum service interval of 40mins (& one 50 minutes daily). Hopefully the timetable planners will be able to get an nearly even service interval rather than 2 (or even 3) within 20mins of each other. Also includes early & late train times (0600 – 2300 Mon to Friday in both directions).

  251. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Snowy – I saw that service specification and wasn’t terribly impressed by it. I appreciate the entire scheme is now being done on a minimalist basis and that the WAML is capacity constrained but having some sort of botched, poor headway service is not what is needed. I hate headways like 10 then 20 – you might as well not bother for half the trains. Just do it properly and provide even headways – makes life easy and convenient which is how it should be for the *passengers*.

  252. Greg Tingey says:

    I appreciate the entire scheme is now being done on a minimalist basis
    Presumably in the expectation that this sticking-plaster will do until the major surgery of CR2 saves the day ?????

  253. Slugabed says:

    A fair assumption….and a good one,I would say….that way,at least the good folk of Lea Bridge get “something” while the big boys (as it were) make their minds up.

  254. Anonymously says:

    What about the trains that already travel past the station from Bishop’s Stortford to Stratford? Won’t they be stopping as well?

  255. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – more to do with the fact that the costs have gone up and up and the money has stayed fixed. There’s only one thing left to do – pare the scope back while hoping you’ve still got a workable scheme at the end.

    @ Anonymously – the assumption, as I understand it, is 2 tph will be trains running from north of Angel Road and the balancing 2 tph will shuttle back and forth using the new single track and platforms added at (the new) Angel Rd, N Park and T Hale stations. Looks like the service will be entirely in the future Greater Anglia franchise with no TfL operation or branding (but I may be reading too much into that from seeing how the service is being procured by DfT and not TfL). I think the references to 40 or 50 minute gaps between trains is to give some flex to the future franchisee about pathing on the main line in the peaks. Stopping trains at Angel Road and N Park on the main line eats up capacity and given the demands for more frequent trains on the main line the pathing must be harder given there is no commitment to 4 tracking the line. I am sure others will wish to correct what I have said if it is an incorrect interpretation.

  256. Anonymously says:

    @WW….Thanks for that. I’ve been wondering for weeks now what all this ‘STAR’ talk on LR was all about!

    There’s one part of your answer that puzzles me though… there really going to be three-tracking between Angel Road and Coppermill Junction? I had always assumed that any new services would be on the existing double-track line. I mean, if you’re bothering to go through the trouble, expense and disruption of triple tracking, why not make it four-track (or at least passively provide for it) for whenever it is possible to extend this all the way to Broxbourne?

  257. Edgepedia says:

    Background information can be found on pages 117 onwards of the 2011 LSE RUS. Option C2b considers the changes for 4tph Stratford to Lea Valley, and recommends three tracks (four at Angel Road and Ponders End) and gives a cost of £280m (including power supply upgrades). Option C3 is for 6tph on the line, and recommends a three and four track railway (there’s Ferry Lane Bridge at T. Hale that limits the railway to 3 tracks without major reconstruction) at a cost of £368m.

    Plans have probably moved on since then.

  258. Greg Tingey says:

    As long as any 3-tracking & patchworking is so crafted that it does not impede any follow-on CR2 work – which WILL require 4 tracks as far as Broxbourne.

    I think all of this is awaiting gorgeous George’s Autumn Statement, 25/11/2015.

    IF he pushes the nominal (admin) start-button for CR2 (as seems entirely possible)
    THEN we will see considerable works along the Lea valley, anyway
    ELSE the “STAR” project will limp along as a sticking-plaster, probably

  259. IAmHedgehog says:

    Hmm. I don’t see anything in the document saying it wouldn’t be run by TfL. It would make an ideal Overground shuttle, not dissimilar to the Romford-Upminster shuttle.

  260. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Iam Hedgehog – it’s part of the tender scope for the new Greater Anglia franchise. Surely that’s enough to say that TfL are *not* going to be procuring the service. TfL are not an operator in their right so they won’t be tendering for the service themselves.

  261. mr_jrt says:

    Quite. As mentioned above, due to cutbacks the service can’t be operated solely on the new infrastructure – it will require some paths on the existing tracks, which means the only sane way to operate it will be as part of the wider GA franchise which will be the primary user of them.

    A shame, but probably unavoidable if we are to get anything built at all. In time (and with the loop and/or more 4 tracking) I suspect a projection of LO from Stratford would make more sense than a shuttle, though. I get why the new LO platforms at Stratford were built as they were, but again it’s a shame, as it will be quite disruptive to convert them to what they need to be – a pair of directional island platforms so freight can pass passenger services in the platforms, be they terminating or continuing up the Lea Valley.

  262. Briantist (post-operative...) says:

    I went past Lea Bridge station today, and noticed that the new platforms are coming along well. They’ve installed the studded edges now.

    Also at at Tottenham Hale, all the trees to the South of the station on the Eastern side have been felled. There is a very, very tall pile of sawdust.

    Looks like the STAR line is underway?

  263. Paul says:

    Briantist 16:23

    There are some references to STAR progress towards the end of the comments section of another thread here:

  264. Paul says:

    Sorry, that link is aimed a bit later than it should be, you’d need to jump back a few posts to where WW links to the Mayoral decision paper.

  265. LadyBracknell says:

    Thanks for the link from Ian visits. I went to Walthamstow on Saturday and on the way back on the 48, I looked down at ‘station’ as the bus crossed over the line. The only thing I could see was the platforms, but there is obviously significantly more developments.

  266. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I found this rather nice Thames News clip from the 80s which features Lea Bridge station complete with train arriving. Also Broad St’s closure plans – with added EMU at Dalston Junction.

  267. Melvyn says:

    The March issue of Modern Railways includes news of progress re Lea Bridge Road Station with a photo showing lift shafts and stairs to both platforms and it seems the station works are on budget and are still on time for handover this May.

  268. Leytongabriel says:

    Local reporting is that services are due to start with the May timetable. There are plans for a major development of new flats by the station and a new secondary school and enlarged ice centre in Lea Bridge Road.
    Lea Bridge Road itself is subject to a ‘Mini-Holland’ scheme to improve life for cyclists and pedestrians. So we have nice new cycle paths until the pinch point of the bridge over the railway. Such a shame the two sets of funding couldn’t have been used so that the new station footbridge could have also carried a through pedestrian walkway. The existing pavement/cycle route must be the narrowest in London. Joined-up writing? Not a chance.

  269. timbeau says:

    “Local reporting is that services are due to start with the May timetable”

    However, the national Rail website journey planner, which gives train times up to twelve weeks ahead, which is two weeks into the new timetable, shows trains running non-stop from Stratford to Tottenham Hale and refuses to recognise Lea Bridge as a station. Journey time, at 13 minutes, is unchanged from the timings for tomorrow, so there is no allowance for adding a stop later.

  270. Edmonton 'Eadcase says:

    The station footbridge is presumably behind the barrier line, so would have needed double the width and strength to carry a public footpath as well.

  271. Paul says:

    timbeau 2301

    I think the National Rail planner will inhibit display of an unopened station, but the calls and times do show up in realtimetrains from the 16th May onwards.

  272. Greg Tingey says:

    There is no need whatsoever for an extended journey time Stratford – Tottie Hale.
    Given that at present it is 13 minutes for 4.25 miles = 19.6 mph.

  273. timbeau says:

    Allowing ten minutes’ recovery time to ensure a right time arrival, that’s 85mph! 😉

  274. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Had a wander down to Lea Bridge station. Decent amount of progress from the last time I went past on a train. Platforms are 8 carriages long – a passing train confirmed this! They have nosing stones and lamp standards and shelters in place. I expect they will be surfaced shortly. The stairs, overbridge and lift towers are all built and certainly the bridge and stairs are usable. Hard to see what state the lifts are in but they look as if they are installed. The entrance is largely in place in terms of a long “Z” ramp for level access plus two shallow staircases. There isn’t much in terms of structure for the “ticket hall” yet but I dare say that will be one of the last bits. Didn’t have my camera so no snaps. The hoardings all have paintings and pictures done by local school children extolling the virtues of train travel and the new station.

  275. Greg Tingey says:

    Lovely snark – it’s the usual though, in that an (ultra)slack schedule means slack working

  276. Anonymous says:

    How about re-connecting the former temporary connection South of Lea Bridge to the Eurostar Depot, and then via the existing link viaduct line to the domestic centre platforms at Stratford International, and thence rather quickly to St Pancras. Just right for every other Stansted Express service, and unloads Liverpool Street a little. Presuaby javein type stock or similar. The Airport would be delighted and might even pay something towards relaying tracks in the valley. That last was planned years and years and years ago, even a little work got done.

  277. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon – I think the Eurostar depot is effectively “quaranteened” from everything else so I can’t see them being content about local trains trundling through every hour. I also suspect HS1 may not be delighted with another service blocking up the London end of the link. Finally a small order of class 395s is not going to come cheap. The simple answer to decongesting Liverpool St is surely to run fewer Stansted Express trains? I know I’ll be taken off the Airport’s Christmas Card list but is there really sufficient demand to warrant a 15 minute headway that eats up capacity that could improve local connectivity?

  278. Graham H says:

    @WW – indeed, the Eurostar depot is a fort within a fort in terms of security.

  279. Anonymously says:

    @WW…..I’m just impressed that they manage to fit a 4tph non-stop service along with semi-fast/stopping services on what is essentially a two-track railway! Now that the express trains have the odd ‘commuter’ stop added (Harlow Town, Bishops’ Stortfort and Stanstead Mountfitchet), reducing the frequency is likely to prove more widely unpopular than with just the airport owners.

    And unless I’ve missed something bleedingly obvious, isn’t Crossrail meant to relieve Liverpool Street to some extent in the off-peak?

  280. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Shameless plug department – some photos of the new station taken this afternoon. It was a tad difficult to get really close because Waltham Forest have started digging up the w/b pavement to create what looks like an enormous cycle lane despite there already being one on the opposite side of the road! The workers doing the road works and the station works seemed very dubious about what I was doing with the camera.

    https:[email protected]/albums/72157666160978041

  281. Tiger Tanaka says:

    Greenguage 21 proposed an East Coast High Speed railway from London to the Scottish border via the East Midlands and Stansted/Cambridge. I thought the plan was perfect, until I mapped the route in Google Earth using the fabled ruler tool and encountered a HUGE dogleg through much of Central England which they quietly did not show on any route maps.

  282. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Seems the first train to call at Lea Bridge on 15 May will start at Liverpool Street and run via Statford before heading for Lea Bridge and points north.

  283. Greg Tingey says:

    Just the ONE train on a Sunday, or is that a “Special” service?
    And how did you get that tt ? As I just this minute looked on the “AGA” web-pages & cannot see any advance tt’s as yet – everything shows the existing tt’s only ….

  284. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – just the one from Liv St and I got it wrong about being first. It’s beaten by 3 minutes by a train *to* Stratford. Ho Hum.

    All I did was look at the AGA advance engineering work calendar, look at 15 May, look at the relevant “dot” for those works and click on the link to the timetable. Easy enough but let’s not have a debate about the ease or otherwise of website navigation.

  285. timbeau says:

    Engineering work that Sunday so no direct service over the line until 8pm.

    National Rail website gives times up to mid June. On (Sunday) May 22nd it shows Lea Bridge having a half hourly service. The 2015 from Stratford does not start from Liverpool Street on that date.

  286. timbeau says:

    For clarity – the NR website and the AGA special timetable for may 15th both show a half hourly service from 2015 until 2244.

  287. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    It already shows up as a station on Google Maps…

  288. Al__S says:

    The Anglia Route Study, now updated, has some options in this area. In particular, it suggests a third track from Ruckholt Road to Stratford station with an additional platform at Stratford. It more or less assumes that Crossrail 2, with four tracks from Tottenham to Broxbourne, is going ahead (though gives options for sticking plasters if it doesn’t) and as part of that there’s an assumption of Grade Separation at Coppermill junction. Between the the CR2 consultation documents and the Route Study it’s clear the plan/aspiration is that there will be 4tph each way off peak serving Lea Bridge, from Stratford up the Lea Valley at least as far as Broxbourne running on the Crossrail additional tracks serving all stations. The additional track to Stratford is required for this to avoid congestion with trains accessing Orient Way sidings

  289. Anonymously says:

    Presumably the station is going to be branded as an AGA station?

  290. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anonymously – I believe that is correct as they will be running the services that stop there.

  291. Anonymous says:

    Going back to my suggestion of diverting some of the Stansted Expresses, the depot is and should be a fortress, but the viaduct going down to the Stratford International Domestic platforms isnt
    and a junction onto this would be perfectly feasible entirely outside the depot area. And it would at last make some use of International quite apart from the usefulness there of such extensive interchange possibilities. I repeat its (almost) all there folks, why not make use of it. (Note to DfT: its extremely cheap and easy, get lots of brownie points)

  292. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Note to Anonymous:

    Whenever someone suggests something is extremely cheap and easy and it has something to do with railways, it generally isn’t.

  293. Malcolm says:

    Further to the already-raised objections to Anonymous “cheap and easy”, one could mention that the ramp ends near the London end of Stratford Int station. While platforms could perhaps in principle be built onto the ramp, that would be extremely expensive and difficult, and new platforms on such a slope would not normally be allowed. Also air passengers to the airport would not welcome alternate trains going from different London termini, even if there was room (which there isn’t).

  294. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Malcolm, you can go further than that. New platforms are not allowed on gradients of that severity, nor for that matter on curves of that radius. Also it is a fairly long single line: it would take some heroic timetabling to weave such a service amongst the constraints of HS1 and the WAML

  295. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – re Stratford International with its “extensive interchange possibilities”. I seem to have missed these – could you perhaps expand a little?

  296. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Come on Graham, it’s obvious. Hordes of punters ex Stansted wanting to go on DLR for London City airport for a range of short haul European destinations.

  297. Graham H says:

    @SFD – my mistake… (and I forgot those armies of people going from Herts and Essex to the Isle of Thanet, too)

  298. Anonymous says:

    Mea Culpa, I had not grasped that the ramp ended at the London end of the station, I had thought the Country end. That I fear is probably game set and match. Pity, it would otherwise might have been worth campaigning for. And it really would’nt have been that long a single tack section .. And if it at last got the four tracking in the Lea valley, well .. .. .. sigh

  299. Kavin Robert says:

    I remember going past it, When I used to work in North London.
    British Rail ran it down, When it became an unstaffed Halt. No one would use it.
    Even the drivers of the few trains that stop there, Bloody complained about it. But when the Palace Gates service from North Woolwich was taken off in 1963. Things began to get worse….
    But I think it will be used this time.

  300. timbeau says:

    When was the last time NR (as opposed to TfL) (re-)opened a station in London?

  301. ChrisMitch says:

    @timbeau, Mitcham Eastfields opened in 2008, so maybe not as long ago as you’d think.

  302. Graham H says:

    @timbeau -the issue is not whether NR open new stations, but whether TOCs/DfT/TfL think it worthwhile to stop there. If the new site isn’t commercially viable (and which are?) then it’s up to TfL to decide to pay for it and bribe the TOC to stop, or up to DfT to write it into the franchise spec. The case of Cricklewood New springs to mind or- more clearly – Stratford Accidental.

  303. Ian J says:

    If the new site isn’t commercially viable (and which are?)

    Presumably Lea Bridge, since while serving it “if” it opens is a commitment in Abellio’s extended franchise agreement, no money changed hands either way in the event of an earlier or later opening, or if it didn’t open at all.

    I don’t think Thameslink had to be bribed to stop at Mitcham Eastfields, or Southern to stop at Imperial Wharf or Shepherd’s Bush.

    Stopping fast services is another matter.

  304. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – indeed, no money may change hands at all if the opening (complete with timing uncertainties) is written in to a franchise spec. You and I can’t tell, as outside observers, what would have happened if the station hadn’t been spec’d.

    There are basic commercial problems for any new station within the Travelcard area and they are firstly, the difficulty of estimating how much new revenue it generates, and secondly, how any TOC involved gets its hands on a commercially viable share of that extra. The mechanisms linking any extra revenue to the individual operator’s cash flow are very indirect and the whole thing is crucially dependent on being able to demonstrate beyond negotiable doubt the difference between “with” and “without” cases.

  305. ngh says:

    Lea Bridge (re)opened as planned after 8pm yesterday (15th May) due to planned engineering work elsewhere earlier in the day and the trains seem to be running reliably on it first full day in service so far today .

  306. Malcolm says:

    Indeed. Further information, pictures, and links to yet more pictures and reports, are to be seen on Diamond Geezer’s recommended blog. (Search within for Lea Bridge Station if you are reading this after today).

  307. answer=42 says:

    O mighty Lea
    That silver runs like Mercure to the sea
    Bridged o’er by steel and brick and stone
    Today thou hast a new station of thine own
    O mighty Lea
    Where passengers like you and me
    Can catch a service of Greater Anglia
    To the City, finance’s cranial ganglia
    O mighty Lea
    Or else come home in time for tea
    Aboard a puissant EMU
    Painted a faded shade of blue
    O mighty Lea
    Rejoice, rejoice!

  308. Ian J says:

    @answer=42: You are William McGonagall and I claim my five pounds. Let’s hope the bridge o’er the silvery Lea lasts a bit better…

    @Graham H: The TOCs’ reluctance to pick up business handed to them on a platter without extorting further money from the government (see also: Oyster PAYG on NR services) is a perfect illustration of why (most) revenue risk should be assumed by the service specifier, as with TfL’s rail and bus concessions, and not with the operator, as with the barking mad national franchise system.

  309. Graham H says:

    @IanJ – I might agree with you! (Though sometimes it’s not just the TOC who digs their heels in on revenue apportionment- TfL are quite capable of doing so if they think they, too, have a legitimate claim). The essential problem with stations like Lea Bridge (and the others you name) is whether the revenue pot is bigger with them being open. Where the revenue at the new station comes partly from diverting* existing revenue from other operators (including buses) then the fun starts.

    *whether by providing an alternative for existing journeys or providing a subsitute (say to a different shopping centre)

  310. Graham H says:

    BTW, I’d relate to you the sad story of Kenilworth but it’s out of area…

  311. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: Yes, part of the advantage of having TfL specifying and operating all London’s rail services would be that there would be less need for negotiations with TfL over splitting Travelcard revenues etc. The money saved in lawyers and consultant could be as much as the revenue from the station itself! Diversion of revenue becomes irrelevant too.

    And if passengers are voting with their feet to use a more convenient service then under TfL’s planning methodology that counts as a good thing anyway, even if it annoys TOCs who thought they “owned” the flows. It’s always amusing how self-described thrusting free-market entrepreneurs turn into entrenched defenders of their share of the pudding, while the hidebound uninnovative state does its best to grow it…

  312. ngh says:

    The aim for eventual passenger numbers (after 3 years?) equates to circa 13 passengers per train, any idea what actual numbers are looking like as the new opening tourism effect wares off?

  313. Greg Tingey says:

    I assume you mean 13 extra passengers per train – equating to 6 or 7 join/alighters per service?
    Or so I interpret your meaning?

  314. Nameless says:


    Unfortunately, if you correct it to “mighty Lea or Lee” it doesn’t scan so well.

  315. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – does your calculation factor in 4 tph with STAR services post 2018? ( we can but dream that the improved service starts then ).

  316. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    No just current service level…

  317. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    Indeed 13 alighting or joining each service on average at Lea Bridge

  318. Greg Tingey says:

    NOT a big expectation, then.
    I expect that will be taken up quite quickly, once the penny drops, especially amongst all the factories/works directly north of the station ….

  319. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    Exactly – set the bar as low as possible to justify then claim massive success later (especially post STAR as the numbers / train effectively halve to hit the target which is after STAR opening). It shouldn’t even need STAR though to hit targets.

  320. Sunil says:


    Abellio say they station opened on Monday on their website.

  321. timbeau says:

    Abellio clearly work on the ecclesiastical day (which starts at sunset rather than midnight)!

  322. ngh says:

    Re Sunil,

    If so how could this video could have been posted on Youtube on Sunday???

    What Abellio actually mean is the local MP and the Rail minister etc. wouldn’t turn up on Sunday which is slightly different 😉

  323. marckee says:

    @ngh There was also the risk that the engineering works would overrun, leading to the delay or cancellation of the first train on Sunday – a situation that would have been embarrassing for all concerned, had the official opening been scheduled then.

  324. Si says:

    Went there on Tuesday and the dwell time timetabled is rather high, with the train (which arrived at Tottenham Hale a minute late) staying for about a minute, as did the northbound one that arrived a couple of minutes afterwards.

  325. Greg Tingey says:

    Given the already-previously documented & commented upon appalling slowness & slackness of the timetable for this section, that is hardly surprising!

  326. Kirth Gersen says:

    Now that the Lea Bridge Road station is open, what is the feasibility of creating a new station at Temple Mills with a bridge over connecting the Leyton tube station to the north end of the Olympic Park via Leyton Mills retail park? It would serve the velodrome, hockey & tennis centre as well the burgeoning residents of East Village and Chobham Manor and provide an alternative route for visitors to Stratford.

  327. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ KG – while I broadly agree that a station in that area would have merit London has a very poor record in adding new stations to the National Rail network. TfL have added a couple because of the Overground / ELL extension and developers have added a couple more (no doubt forced via planning conditions) but otherwise the network is static despite so much dynamic activity going on around Greater London. Given it took an exceptionally long time to reopen Lea Bridge I would not hold out any hope for a Temple Mills station. The ideal opportunity was off the back of the Olympic Park development and clearly no one thought it important enough for that. You would need a monumental scale of new development in the area to possibly tip the balance and I don’t see where that will come unless Waltham Forest decide to demolish the retail park and build thousands and thousands of flats on the site. I can’t see the Spitalfields Market site being relinquished and we do have to have some level of industrial units / small business activity within London. It can’t all be demolished to make way for housing and poncy shops at street level. We do need essential, if somewhat boring, infrastructure like railway sidings, wholesale markets, fire stations, industrial estates etc for the City to function. I do sometimes wonder if this is forgotten by those [1] making “grand gestures” about “exciting” redevelopments.

    [1] no one here just for the sake of clarity. Planners, developers, some politicians etc were more who I had in mind.

  328. timbeau says:

    On District Dave I saw a suggestion of a new station between Turkey Styreet and Theobalds Grove.

    As far as I recall the only new (as opposed to re-opened) station on an existing NR line in recent years was Mitcham Eastfields. I’m struggling to think of the previous one in the south east – possibly Watton-at-Stone or Arlesey (both in the Home Counties rather than Greater London)

  329. Malcolm says:

    Watton-at-Stone was opened in 1924, closed in 1939, and re-opened in 1982. Might City Thameslink (opened under a different name in 1990) qualify?

    (Arlesey was also a re-opening on the original site, but arguably different as it had been completely demolished).

  330. Greg Tingey says:

    The Croxley Green Branch & re-opened/new stations?
    And look how long that will have taken, when it re-opens ….

  331. timbeau says:

    City Thameslink is essentially Holborn Viaduct Low Level. I hadn’t realised that Arlesey and [email protected] were both reopenings of long-closed stations.

    Winnersh Triangle? Milton Keynes Central?

    Actually in Greater London, there is Eltham (arguable, as it replaced two other stations swept away by the Rochester Way Relief Road)

  332. Walthamstow Writer says:

    The basic point I clearly failed to make is that new stations are not something demanded by the public nor are they viewed as an electoral “plus” otherwise they’d be in Mayoral manifestos. We have debated several times on here how, if you apply cost / benefit analysis, you get overwhelming disbenefits because you slow down people already travelling on trains that would be required to stop at a new station. While that analysis may help inform a rounded argument I do feel that it’s used a “killer blow” by authorities who aren’t the slightest bit interested in having new stations to manage and maintain. There are plenty of examples where new stations could be beneficial but they are routinely dismissed as unnecessary or “too costly” (see CR2 endlessly).

    We also seem to be “world champions” at building stations in locations so they deliberately don’t connect to stations bearing the same or similar names – Canary Wharf, Woolwich Crossrail. Yes there are lots of other integrated stops on Crossrail but also several gaps (all debated here before so don’t debate again) which shows we have a real problem in achieving / affording workable integrated solutions in all the places where there would be a benefit.

  333. Malcolm says:

    Yes, the trouble with this “new stations” discussion is the “need” to provide rigid criteria to decide whether an apparently new station does or doesn’t count as a re-incarnation of an earlier one – and also to determine exactly what “on an existing line” means (e.g. “having existed long ago”, versus “existing immediately before the station opening”).

    Rather than making up rules -inevitably a bit arbitrary – on these matters, it is probably better to retreat into “it all depends”, and return to discussing other things.

  334. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – I would doubt that any appraisal of a completely new station takes into account whether something has previously existed on or near its site. “Moving” a station without break in service is something else, of course, although the legal advice I used to receive in relation to closures was that even a change in levels might trigger a closure – something we once considered in relation to the bay at Willesden Junc LL. Legally, of course, any previous existence is irrelevant. Closure means closure…

  335. Malcolm says:

    Graham: Closure means closure – unless it is intended to be temporary, surely? Thinking of GOBLIN electrification, among others.

    But whether or not the earlier existence of a station counts legally or affects the plans for a new one, it is the kind of thing that seems deeply important to those of us (I include myself) who like to put things firmly in boxes, and who get discombobulated by fuzzy categories.

    But, like it or not, the world does seem to be fuzzy.

  336. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Mitcham Eastfields was, I think, 19 months from the first pound spent on feasibility to opening. So it can be done. It did take some persuading of a few parties though.

  337. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – Fine: it’s very clear legally. Closure means formally closed under the 1962 Act as amended or closed at some point before that became law. If it’s not closed formally, then it remains “open” even if no trains call there , temporarily or otherwise, and the operator is obliged to provide a service (even if only an on-call taxi).

    In terms of appraisal economics, it’s equally clear: the pre-existence of a station at or near the proposed site is wholly irrelevant.

    So, the fact that there was once, long ago, a Lea Bridge Station is irrelevant. It closed. We appraise a possible replacement on the basis of today’s economics.

  338. Kirth Gersen says:

    Thank you Walthamstow Writer for your informed comment.
    I thought it would be an uphill struggle.
    The sheer scale of development in the area is staggering, check out the link.
    There is not going to much left of the Olympic Park when the East Wick and Sweetwater developments start. As for temple Mills retail park, I think its days are numbered as land prices skyrocket especially in close vicinity to the station. Look what happened to the Nissan garage on Ruckholt Road.
    Billingate’s days are numbered and can’t last much longer once Crossrail opens one option mooted is to combine it with New Spitalfields Market.
    Massive developments are being planned up and down the Lea Valley.
    I understand that there is little incentive to build new stations. I was just enquiring if it is feasible to build a new station at Temple Mills, is there room if they take ove a bit of the bus depot do the tracks have the right alignment etc?

  339. Greg Tingey says:

    Adding to the London-&-nearby stations list:
    Basildon – & that, too, took many years before it was built.

    “Right alignment” on the Lea Valley line?
    First of all, something needs to be done about the (?) 20 mph (?) speed-restriction at the N end of what used to be Temple Mills Yards.
    Of course the problem mentioned by WW ( “new stations slow the trains down” ) would not apply between Stratford & Tottie Hale, since the service is so desperately slow already …..

  340. Greg,

    It comes to something when I think your cynicism isn’t great enough.

    Never underestimate the ability of the railway operators to make a desperately slow service even slower.

  341. Anonymous says:

    To be fair, I often find my train between Tott Hale and Stratford takes about 8 mins and *once* it did it in 6!

  342. Ian J says:

    New NR station opening in the southeast previous to Mitcham Eastfields: Luton Airport Parkway? Not in the Home Counties (by a few hundred metres), but in the old LPTB area.

  343. Ian J says:

    Luton Airport Parkway being another one of elephantine gestation…

  344. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Southend Airport?

  345. Twopenny Tube says:

    Chafford Hundred? Braintree Freeport?
    Does reinstating/reopening the LTS (high level) platforms at West Ham count?

  346. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ K Gersen – I am happy to be corrected by those with the right knowledge but I thought it was contrary to modern standards to have curved platforms. Looking on Google Earth the most likely position for Temple Mills platform, to the south of the Ruckholt Rd bridge, is on a slight curve. You couldn’t build to the north without track alterations because there’s a track leading in to the Temple Mills sidings. There is some straight track further south beside the bus garage car park but that makes access from the Ruckholt End more circuitous than is perhaps ideal. Obviously you need to decide where you want the primary station access to serve – is it Ruckholt Road or is to the south and the Olympic Park? I’d suggest a simple ticket hall over the tracks adjacent to the Ruckholt Rd bridge and lifts and steps down would be the simplest arrangement but the mildly curved track is an issue if the aim is to achieve even step distances between platform and train.

    I confess I was not aware of such large scale developments in the area but knew something would be happening with the confines of the Olympic Park.

  347. Man of Kent says:

    Quite severely curved platforms feature at the new (resited) Rochester station, opened last December.

  348. Ian J says:

    @WW: I typed the wording out from the Railway Group Standard (it is a locked PDF that doesn’t allow copy and paste) but my comment got swallowed. Basically platforms should be straight unless it isn’t ‘reasonably’ possible for them to be given the railway infrastructure at the location.

    St Pancras International Low Level is both a) an example of a recently-built (2007) station with curved platforms, and b) perhaps the new NR station built most recently before Mitcham Eastfields (2008).

  349. Kirth Gersen says:

    Thanks for your comments Wathamstow Writer.
    I was just envisioning and station to the south end of the bus depot.
    It would be a few minutes from Leyton tube and with a bridge over the station linking the platforms so both could serve the sporting facilities nearby. i now this is never likely to happen.
    I take the 308 to and from work so regularly pass by. Many evenings I see teams of hockey players trudging up to Ruckholt Road bridge to get to Leyton.
    The residents in East Village would like a footbridge to get to the retail park and Leyton.
    With the success of Lea Bridge Road station, I was just wondering how feasible my musings were?

    On a second note after reading the old ‘Horizons’ thread where there was some discussion on extending the Jubilee line, of course, a new tunnel under Stratford station would be prohibitively
    But couldn’t DLR platforms be built behind Stratford bus station or just terminate DLR trains at Stratford High Street? Jubilee line trains could then use the existing tunnel with just some track realignment.

  350. Graham H says:

    Do I hear the soft rattle of a tin of Faeber-Castell’S finest?

  351. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Thanks for the answers re straight / curved platforms. So not out of the question to build a new station with slightly curved platforms.

    @ K Gersen – Have we actually seen any data that confirms Lea Bridge station is a “success”? I haven’t seen anything that says how many people use it a day or how that relates to W Forest Council’s expectations. I imagine it has a fair number of peak time users but I’m a tad sceptical about off peak with only a half hourly service. There are well over 20 buses per hour on Lea Bridge Rd which can get you into town or to an alternative rail head with a more frequent service. When STAR commences with hopefully 4 tph then I can see Lea Bridge being a far more attractive option with a relatively easy link to Crossrail at Stratford.

    The hockey players are trudging because TfL refuse to provide a bus from the Olympic Park round into the retail park / Ruckholt Rd. It’d be so easy to fix but they won’t do it. If people want footbridge links then I think that’s a different issue to building a station and potentially a bit easier to achieve. I think some clarity on what the objectives are and the problems to be fixed would help frame possible solutions. From your remarks there are multiple issues with differing time frames and scales. Not sure we can fix them here.

  352. Alan Griffiths says:

    Kirth Gersen 29 September 2016 at 07:01

    ” The residents in East Village would like a footbridge to get to the retail park and Leyton.”

    What’s their problem with bus 97 from Celebration Avenue, or walking via Temple Mills Lane and Leyton High Road?

  353. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau……There’s also Moulsecoomb station, near Brighton (on the line to Falmer and Lewes). Opened in 1980, it was apparently the first new station in the Southern Region since the Beeching era.

  354. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I had cause to use the line from T Hale to Stratford earlier this week – it was a mid afternoon journey so not likely to be especially busy. I was quite surprised to see a decent volume of people boarding at Tottenham Hale. Probably 30+ people. On arrival at Lea Bridge 9 people boarded s/b. 1 person was waiting for the imminent n/b train. Again slightly surprised to see 9 people – I’d have expected 1 or 2 at that time of day. On arrival at Stratford there must have been around 100 or so alighting which I thought was not bad for a lowish frequency service. There were already people waiting at Stratford despite the fact trains stand there for 20+ minutes. Wonder what it will be like when we get the 15 minute service in a few years time?

  355. Walthamstow Writer says:

    The latest edition of our council newspaper (yep we still have one) says that about 1,500 journeys are being made to / from Lea Bridge on weekdays and around 1,000 on Saturdays. No number for Sundays was quoted but there’s been a fair amount of engineering works recently. These numbers are apparently ahead of forecast for the first year. I’ve noticed mums with buggies are using Lea Bridge to get to Stratford – possibly because both stns are fully accessible.

    I used the 1600 train ex Stratford yesterday and around 20 people alighted at Lea Bridge which seemed a decent number to me. The train out of Stratford was well loaded with a constant stream of people arriving for it. There were people two deep at T Hale trying to get on – there had been some disruption to services because of a trespass incident although trains were only running a few mins late (according to Realtimetrains).

  356. Slugabed says:

    If (as may not be the case) Lea Bridge gets the same service as Northumberland Park,two stops down the line,it will have no trains stopping on Sunday…

  357. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Slugabed – Lea Bridge is supposed to have a half hourly Sunday service. In recent weeks the engineering works have varied a lot – sometimes nothing via T Hale or nothing via Clapton or nothing via Hackney Downs (blocking the route via SS). When the usual route via Clapton is shut then we get 4 tph from T Hale to Stratford but only 2 stop at Lea Bridge. Unfortunately we have a great deal of engineering work in E London at the moment meaning it can be quite a task to get around at weekends. Not a criticism because the work has to be done, just a statement.

  358. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Interesting to see that 1st year patronage at Lea Bridge is expected to be nearly 30% higher than forecast.

    Note also the reference to the need for a further stop on the line at Ruckholt Road by 2021. That’s next to no time in planning terms so it will be interesting to see how that proceeds. With the introduction of the STAR service in late 2018 patronage could rocket on this stretch of line.

  359. Greg Tingey says:

    Seems to be part of a pattern, then?
    Like the portion of the reopened Waverley route, too ….
    Don’t tell DfT, though, or they’ll imagine other ways of slowing development down …

  360. Jonathan Roberts says:

    The patronage is 30% higher than forecast, but not for 2016, rather for 2031, at 2 trains per hour….!
    Make of that what you will, but clearly (TfL) forecasts can also be underestimates.
    See link here in 2012 to forecasting then by TfL.

  361. Anonymous says:

    I used the line today between the Hale and Stratford and noted first-class-antimacassers and all – was extraordinarily well patronised. 😕

    Shame the replacement stock will be all second class.

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