Stratford (SRA)

Stratford is a major transport hub in East London, an interchange of the Great Eastern Main Line out of London Liverpool Street, London Overground, two London Underground lines and the Docklands Light Railway. It is also next to a bus station!
Type: National Rail
(Great Eastern Main Line) &
Transport for London
(Central & Jubilee Lines,
Docklands Light Railway,
London Overground)
Station code: SRA
Opened: 1839
Platforms: 19

Stratford was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1839 [1]. The Northern & Eastern Railway also reached Stratford the following year. The London, Tilbury & Southend Railway reached Stratford in 1854. By then Stratford was already becoming a very busy station with concerns about congestion. Stratford became part of the Great Eastern Railway and later the LNER with electrification completed through the station early after the Second World War. Because of the nature of how the station has developed it has high and low-levels [2].

The London Underground reached Stratford in 1946 with an extension of the Central Line from Liverpool Street. The Central Line is in tunnels either side of Stratford but climbs to the open air in the station. This makes Stratford one of only two stations on the Underground where passengers have to go up an escalator to reach their tube train!

The Docklands Light Railway was next to arrive, Stratford being one of the original stations on the DLR opening in 1987 [3]. One interesting thing to note is that the DLR line near Stratford used an existing railway bridge next to the Great Eastern Main Line as it ran over a former British Rail line [4]. It was the clearance available with the girders on the bridge that dictated the dimensions and final design of the top contact third rail used by the DLR [5].

The low-level part of Stratford station was rebuilt for the arrival of the Jubilee Line in 1999 [6]. Stratford is the Eastern terminus of the line. The next line to reach Stratford will be the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) when it finally opens.

As well as the Transport for London services Stratford is served by Greater Anglia on services East including to Southend Victoria, Norwich and Clacton-on-Sea. It is also served by some c2c services to Shoeburyness.
Jubilee 96075 and friend at Stratford

Greater Anglia 321 359 at Stratford

View of the busy Stratford layout with Westfield in the left background

A Central Line train

TfLRail 315 843 arrives

London Overground 378 207 prepares to head off

[1] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy. 2017) p. 158
[2] J.E. Connor, Branch lines around North Greenwich (Middleton Press, 2001) Fig. 14
[3] Robert Griffiths, The Central Line (Past and Present, 2007) p. 31
[4] Stephen Jolly & Bob Bayman, Docklands Light Railway (Capital Transport, 1986) p. 26
[5] David Hartland, Brecknell Willis & Co. Collectors for Trains, Trams and Trolleys (Middleton Press, 2004) p. 60
[6] Mike Horne, The Jubilee Line (Capital Transport, 2000) p. 79