There is a part of East London with a lot of railway lines and a lot of railway trains, but curiously, no railway station. This is about to change.

In a few months time, Lea Bridge Station [map] will open, filling a large void in an area where trains pass between Stratford and Tottenham without stopping.

As it happens though, this is not the first time there has been a station in this location, as a station was opened on the Lea Bridge in September 1840, and despite a brief period of popularity thanks to a nearby football ground, it never really lived up to the hopes of the railway company.

The railway though, blossomed, thanks to a large goods depot to the south, at Temple Mills, which is still in use, although now for Eurostar trains.

The station limped on with dwindling passenger numbers and in the mid 1970s, the original station building was demolished in favour of an unmanned shed, and then both the station and the railway line closed in 1985.

As is increasingly the case, when railways close, they don’t stay closed for very long, and just 20 years later, in 2005, the railway line reopened, offering a service between Stratford and Tottenham Hale stations.

Unsurprisingly, the local Waltham Forest Borough campaigned for the old station, to be reopened. While the station building had been torn down, quite a bit of the platform structure remained in situ.

In 2013, the government agreed with the council, and announced plans for a £11.6 million station to be built, reusing the old platforms, but with a different location for the station entrance.

The scheme is funded with a mixture of £5million in Council capital funding, £1.1million from the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund and £5.5million from Section 106 contributions (managed by the Stratford Transport Implementation Group).

The old entrance was above the tracks as a building next to the main road. In fact, it’s thought to have been the UK’s first station with that design. However, that main road also happens to have more road than pavement and is totally unsuitable for modern use.

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The new entrance will be on a side road, which is vastly more suitable for a station entrance, and a new footbridge is being constructed next to where the old station building stood to link the two platforms.

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Unfortunately, the station was headlined as opening “before the end of 2014”, and now signs at the station herald an opening in Spring 2016.

The delay apparently being due to objections raised by three freight operators who also use the line. The planning application was finally filed in October 2014, and works started in July 2015

Further problems, such as Japanese Knotweed added to the delays.

The station is now set to open in either March or May this year, the exact date still being undecided.

(Update – the station is marked to open on 15th May 2016)

Eight carriage trains will be used on the line which will be used by Abellio Greater Anglia trains. When it finally opens, this page on the TfL website will at last be of more use.

And in a few years, an area of mostly light industrial is likely to be a cluster of “residential experiences” being sold off-plan to desperate homeowners.

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18 comments on “Lea Bridge Station opening May 2016
  1. Do let us know if you hear when it is going to open – I have taken the train from Stratford to Tottenham Hale once, and the line was fascinating. My 5-year-old grandson, who is even more of a railway buff than I am, if such a thing is possible, would love to see the new station, as would I, and it’s a fun thing for us to do together….

  2. David Henderson says:

    It really bugs me, but I’m sure that Lea Bridge featured in a pop video around the time it closed. I have been unable to find any reference to it. As I recall, the band were performing on the platform.

  3. Gilian Lawrenc says:

    Thanks for the article. Already houses next to the station are selling at half a million! New flats (unaffordable as per) are rising despite local opposition. Many of my neighbours, long time resident in Leyton, remember using the train line in the eighties to get to work..
    The station launch party (2016?) will be awesome as they say in Walthamstow, posh sister of Leyton but not for much longer. Leyton has a cycle highway too.

    • Alan Ji says:

      What “houses next to the station” ?

    • Wasyl says:

      I believe Gillian meant “near”.

      But there are plans to demolish the light industrial block on the corner across the road and build about 300 [non-affordable] apartments, for about 600 residents. These will include 3 high rise blocks, 18, 15 and 12 stories high, hardly no vehicular parking but with about 500 cycle racks in the basements.

  4. John Gilbert says:

    RAILWAY station please, not that dreadful Americanism used as headline; after all we were the ones who invented railways darn it, and it’s always been RAILWAY station.!!

    • Dave says:

      Too right!
      There’s no such thing as a “train station”.
      There again, the blogger recently referred to a locomotive as a “train” so I’m not hopeful that he’ll stop using “train station”.
      Expect some nonsense about its being in common use.

  5. John says:

    Have Network Rail bought a job lot of the dreariest coloured paint they could find? Much recent work they’ve done is pretty miserable and drags down surroundings.

    The bridge etc would look classier if painted black, and blend into its surroundings, and cost no more. The grey used looks like its from a prison design.

  6. Glenn Wallis says:

    Actually, the line through Lea Bridge never closed, it continued to be used by freight traffic. TfL are working on getting Network Rail to put back a third line to give capacity for a more frequent all stations service between Stratford and Angel Road, with a later extension to Brimsdown.

    Now we need to get the Hall Farm Curve, near Lea Bridge, reinstated to allow trains to run from the Chingford Line to Stratford!

  7. Graham Larkbey says:

    I can put David Henderson out of his misery – I was the singer in the band (Aunt Fortescue’s Bluesrockers) who played there on the last day (and on the last train, which departed amid a spectacular thunderstorm). We split up in 1987, but we’re planning to re-form and play on the platform again on reopening day! Anyone who’d like further details is welcome to email me at graham.larkbey@gmail.com – meanwhile my current band the Escape Committee plays regularly around the area.

  8. Bren Reilly says:

    Hi All

    I was On the Last Train From Lea Bridge Station to Stratford It was a rainy evening
    Some info to a question above .
    The band playing on the platform were called Aunt Fortescues Blues Rockers also LBC radio coveted the event at the time

    I am not a Buff myself if anyone has more info on the reopening DM me at Man19Hey on Teitter

  9. Wasyl says:

    Coming home this morning, I noticed sign pointing to the new station indicating that the station will open in May. Pity its not in mid April, would have given me a reason to use the rail system to get to Stansted instead of driving.

  10. Peter Manley says:

    I regularly drove the Stratford to Tottenham Hale trains and the only people we ever picked up at Lea Bridge were railway workers and one or two locals. Not the busiest station in the world. Good to see it will open again.

  11. Andrew Rixon says:

    If the new houses by Lea Bridge station ar egoing for half a million each, how on earth could the station itself cost as much as 23 houses to build? Not surprising new stations are so few if they are so expensive.

  12. liveleyton says:

    So what exactly is the line route, and which stations will it be stopping at? I can’t find any info on this anywhere. I moved to Leyton near the football ground three years ago and find it annoying that there are no direct transport links from Leyton High Road towards Lea Bridge roundabout or the other direction. You have to change bus at Lea Bridge road if you need to go left or right. Surely one bus to go the 58 or 158 bus to turn left or right at Lea Bridge Road?

  13. liveleyton says:

    Agree about the paint colour!

  14. Gillian of the Burwell Estate says:

    Isn’t there going to be a ribbon-cutting event at the station on May 16th?
    Graham, do you know?

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