Lea Valley lines

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Lea Valley lines
London Overground Class 317.jpg
British Rail Class 317 in Overground livery
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
East of England
Termini Enfield Town
London Liverpool Street
Stations 31
Services 5
Owner Network Rail (Anglia Route)
Operator(s) Greater Anglia
London Overground
Depot(s) Ilford
Sidings at Chingford
Rolling stock Class 315
Class 317
Class 379 "Electrostar"
Number of tracks 2–4
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV 50 Hz AC Overhead lines
Operating speed Below 75 mph (121 km/h)
Route map

London Overground London Overground:
Liverpool Street to Cheshunt / Enfield Town via Seven Sisters, and to Chingford
National Rail National Rail:
Liverpool Street / Stratford to Cheshunt via Tottenham Hale
Cheshunt Junction
Theobalds Grove
Waltham Cross
Turkey Street
Enfield Lock
Carterhatch Lane
Enfield Town
Bush Hill Park
Ponders End
Bury Street Junction
Highams Park
Wood Street
National Rail Edmonton Green
Lower Edmonton
(low level)
Angel Road
Silver Street
Meridian Water
White Hart Lane
Northumberland Park
Bruce Grove
Walthamstow Central
London Underground
London Underground National Rail Seven Sisters
Tottenham Hale
London Underground
Seven Sisters Junction
St. James Street
South Tottenham
(on Gospel Oak to Barking line)
Tottenham South Junction
Coppermill Junctions
Stamford Hill
Hall Farm Junction
Stoke Newington
Lea Bridge Junction
Clapton Junction
Lea Bridge
Clapton tunnel
13 ch
260 m
Loughton Branch Junction
Rectory Road
Queens Road (GER)
(c.1892 never opened)
Queens Rd tunnel
20 ch
400 m
Stratford International
(on High Speed 1)
Hackney Downs North Jct
National Rail Hackney Downs
London Underground Docklands Light Railway Crossrail National Rail
High Meads Junction
Reading Lane Junction
London Fields
Cambridge Heath
(under construction)
Bethnal Green North Jct
Bethnal Green
London Underground Crossrail Liverpool Street

The Lea Valley lines are two commuter lines and two branches in north-east London, so named because they run along the Lower Lea Valley of the River Lea. They were part of the Great Eastern Railway,[2] now part of the Anglia Route of Network Rail.

On 31 May 2015, services between London Liverpool Street to Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town were transferred to London Overground; services between London Liverpool Street and Stratford via Tottenham Hale to Hertford East and Bishops Stortford remain with Greater Anglia.


The first section was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) on 20 June 1839 from the London end at Devonshire Street to Romford, extended on 1 July 1840 to Bishopsgate (London end) and Brentwood. The Northern and Eastern Railway (N&ER) opened its first section from that line at Stratford to Broxbourne on 15 September 1840, and to Harlow in 1841; though it remained a separate entity, its line was leased to the ECR from 1 January 1844. A branch from Broxbourne to Hertford opened in 1843.

Enfield was reached on 1 March 1849 by the single-track Enfield Town branch from the N&ER at Angel Road via Lower Edmonton. The ECR was incorporated into the Great Eastern Railway (GER) in 1862. A shorter route to Edmonton was provided by the GER in 1872, from Bethnal Green via Hackney Downs and Stoke Newington, which opened on 27 May; the section via Seven Sisters and Lower Edmonton, at a new high-level station provided adjacent to the old low-level station, opened on 22 July. The line from there to Enfield was doubled at the same time. The old line between Angel Road and Lower Edmonton was closed to passenger trains in 1939, except for occasional diversionary traffic including the period in the 1950s when the rest of the local network was being electrified under the Eastern Region; the line closed completely in 1964 and the track was removed soon after.

Another branch, the Chingford branch line, went from Lea Bridge to Walthamstow, Shern Hall Street, in 1870, extended southwards to Hackney Downs in 1872 and northwards to Chingford in 1873.

The final section linked Lower Edmonton on the Enfield branch via Churchbury (later Southbury) with the Broxbourne line at Cheshunt, opening on 1 October 1891; it was known as the Churchbury loop until the renaming of that station in 1960, then the Southbury loop.

A station was proposed near Clapton called Queens Road but never opened.[3]

Electrification of the lines via Seven Sisters to Hertford East, Enfield Town and Bishops Stortford, plus the Chingford branch, were completed in 1960. The line via Tottenham Hale was not electrified until 1969, using Class 125 diesel multiple units between 1958 and 1969.

Route and services

The Lea Valley lines as part of the Overground network

All express services start at either London Liverpool Street or Stratford and are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia as part of the Greater Anglia franchise. Suburban services operating on the Southbury Loop terminating at Cheshunt, on the Enfield Town branch and on Chingford branch are operated by London Overground. Services operating via the Southbury Loop that continue beyond Cheshunt, as well as on the line via Tottenham Hale, including services originating at Stratford, are operated by Greater Anglia. The routes are:

Until 1968 the Stratford and Chingford lines were connected by the Hall Farm Curve, which may be reconstructed.[4]

The line is part of the Network Rail Strategic Route 5, SRS 05.02, 05.04 and part of 05.01. It is classified as a London and South East Commuter line.[5]

A number of services to/from Liverpool Street/Enfield Town start or terminate in different places on special occasions. When Tottenham Hotspur F.C. are playing at home, additional trains run, some starting/terminating from White Hart Lane or Seven Sisters.

The line is double track for most of its length, however between Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street it is multitrack – the suburban lines for trains stopping at Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath and London Fields and the Main Lines for non-stop West Anglia/Stansted Express services. It is electrified at 25 kV AC using overhead line equipment and has a line speed of 40–75 mph except between Cheshunt and Coppermill junction where it is 60–85 mph. Different sections have different loading gauges. Most is W8, with the branches to Enfield Town and Chingford being W6 and the branch to Stratford W9.[5]

Future developments

The Tottenham Hale–West Anglian route is planned to become part of Crossrail 2 to Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Hertford East.

Class 710 trains are currently under construction by Bombardier; eight of these have already been deployed on the Gospel Oak to Barking line[6] and more are scheduled for release into service on other parts of the London Overground including the Romford–Upminster line during 2019, fully replacing current Class 315 and Class 317 stock.[7]


  1. ^ Railway Magazine December 1957 p. 891
  2. ^ White, H.P. (1987). Thomas, David St John (eds.). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain — Volume 3: Greater London (3rd ed.). Dawlish: David & Charles.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Brown, Joe (2006). London Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Ian Allan Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 0-7110-3137-1.
  4. ^ "The Case for a Chingford to Stratford Rail Service". London Borough of Waltham Forest. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2012. See also Greater Anglia Route Utilisation Strategy.
  5. ^ a b "Route 5 – West Anglia" (PDF). Network Rail. 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  6. ^ "A month of free travel on the London Overground". www.ianvisits.co.uk. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  7. ^ "This is what the new London Overground trains will look like". Evening Standard. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2016.

Brown, Joe (2006). London Railway Atlas. ISBN 978-0-7110-3137-1.

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