Plans to upgrade Stratford station – but will Government fund?

A business case is to be drawn up looking into expanding and upgrading Stratford station.

The station has seen spectacular growth and served by numerous rail services from Greater Anglia, TfL Rail (soon to be Crossrail or the Elizabeth Line), London Overground and the DLR.

New builds rising above station building last week

I’ve passed through quite a few times in recent weeks and platforms have been busy around 9pm across the station despite generally suppressed levels of public transport use in London.

From platforms numerous new-builds can be seen:

View from DLR at Stratford upper level

Cherry Park is to see 1,224 homes beside the station, to give one example.

Concourse beside Jubilee platforms

Head one stop north on the DLR to Stratford International and numerous new developments are evident:

New blocks

Many living here will head to Stratford for numerous interchange opportunities.

While talking about Stratford, I must give a little exposure to this tower which looked striking in the evening setting sun this past week:

Growing pressure

Stratford is a station without many (or any) quiet times with a wide range of factors leading to ever growing pressure. It’s not just peak time commuter flows but off-peak demand. West Ham ditching Upton Park for the Olympic Stadium added to existing commuter and leisure flows.

Numerous new builds have joined Westfield shopping centre, and educational establishments such as Universal College London are moving to the area.

UCL seen from DLR


Other organisations moving to the area include BBC Studios, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, V&A and the London College of Fashion. All will bring peak and off peak traffic.

The prohibitive cost of Stratford International Southeastern trains to central London also acts to incentive for people to use Stratford, though there is little space capacity on HS1 trains arriving from Kent.

View from Stratford International

The lucky person who gets the job will have the joy of trying to gain agreement between the Department for Transport, Newham Council, TfL and Network Rail.

They’ll need all the skills in the world to get the Treasury and DfT to provide funding.

The Treasury and DfT have recently made clear the emphasis is cutting funding for London public transport, and are not in the business of investing. Too busy *cough* levelling up apparently.

Stratford skyline

According to the job post: “The successful person will aid the completion of the strategic assessment in late 2021 and set the project up for the successful production of a strategic outline business case (SOBC), suitable for submission to government in 2022 and the later business case stages.”

Stratford is currently the seventh busiest station in the country, and the target is for government to see it as just as important as city centre stations. It features 17 platforms including two DLR branches. One from Woolwich Arsenal and another from Lewisham or Canary Wharf. DLR frequency increases are expected from 2024-25 when new trains arrive.


New tower in Lewisham

This isn’t the only study for a major – and growing station in the midst of large development. Lewisham station saw a study announced in March 2020, with little heard since.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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