Station Name: STRATFORD LOW LEVEL
|Location:||West side of Station Street|
|Company on opening:||Eastern Counties Railway|
|Date closed to passengers:||Still open|
|Date closed completely:||Still open|
|Company on closing:||Still open|
|Present state:||Still open|
|OS Grid Ref:||TQ386844|
|Date of visit:||Not visited|
Notes: The station was sometimes referred to as Stratford Lower. Stratford Low Level Station was rebuilt several times over the years, most recently during the construction of the Jubilee Line extension when the station was completely rebuilt with new platforms and a new entrance. From this date the Low Level suffix was dropped.
With the closure of the Stratford - North Woolwich line on 9th December 2006, Richmond trains continued to terminate at Stratford (Low Level) until April 2009 when the North London Line trains were transferred to newly built high-level platforms 1 and 2 from the original low-level platforms 1 and 2. After rebuilding, the old platforms reopened as platforms 16 and 17 for the DLR's Stratford International service which opened in August 2011.
BRIEF HISTORY OF STRATFORD
- NORTH WOOLWICH LINE
Bidder's scheme was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1844
as the Eastern Counties & Thames Junction Railway, with
powers for a line from Stratford to a terminus on the Thames
near the mouth of Bow Creek. It was opened between Stratford
and Barking Road on 29th April, 1846 and was purchased by the
E.C.R. in August of that year.
After completion, the North Woolwich Railway was bought by the E.C.R. in 1847 and the 21 mile line was opened on 14th June, 1847, together with a curve to the main line at Stratford, enabling through trains to be run between the Eastern Counties terminus at Shoreditch and North Woolwich. There were two intermediate stations at Stratford Bridge (later Stratford Market) and Barking Road (later Canning Town).
The branch quickly proved popular and an hourly service was established between Shoreditch and North Woolwich where two steam ferries, owned by the railway, provided the connection to Woolwich itself.
The line was extended northwards to a junction with the North London Railway at Victoria Park on 15th August 1854, to accommodate these trains; a new station was opened at Stratford Low Level. On 31st March 1858, the London Tilbury & Southend Railway opened a loop to the North Woolwich line at Abbey Mills providing a route into Fenchurch Street.
In 1850 the Victoria Dock Company was authorised by Act of Parliament to construct a dock east of Bow Creek and immediately north of the railway. The entrance to the dock cut across the railway and to avoid disruption to traffic the North Woolwich branch was diverted around the north side of the dock, to rejoin the original line about three-quarters of a mile west of the terminus. A station was opened on the new line at Custom House. The original line was retained to provide railway connections to the numerous factories which sprang up along the river bank crossing the entrance to Victoria Dock by a swing bridge; it was known as the Silvertown Tramway.
Victoria Dock opened in 1855 and was an immediate success with its direct connection to the Great Eastern Railway. The district surrounding the railway quickly prospered with new stations opening at Tidal Basin and Silvertown. In 1862 the E.C.R. merged with other lines to form the Great Eastern Railway.
In 1874 the Beckton gasworks company opened a single-line branch from Custom House to their works and in 1880, another branch was opened from Custom House to a terminus at Gallions close to the dock basin where the P. & O. liners berthed.
In 1864, the Victoria Dock passed to the London & St. Katherine Dock Company, which, in 1880, opened the Albert Dock as an easterly extension of the Victoria; it was joined to the latter by a short cut. It was again necessary to divert the North Woolwich line and an 1875 Act gave the dock company powers to divert the loop line through a tunnel under the cut between the two docks. The original line was retained as the high-level route owned by the dock company but in the event of the tunnel becoming impassable through any cause, the Great Eastern the right to use the original route free of charge until the tunnel was again fit for use.
In 1872 the Great Eastern Railway opened a new line from Bethnel
Green to Stoke Newington and Lower Edmonton with a branch from
this line at Seven Sisters opening to Palace Gates in 1878.
On 1st January 1880 a new spur was opened allowing a new service
to be established between Stratford and Palace Gates, this service
later ran through to North Woolwich.
After the war passenger numbers were in decline with commuters finding the busses and trolleybuses more convenient; freight traffic was initially less affected but road haulage was beginning to make significant inroads. Passenger trains continued to run between Palace Gates and North Woolwich with short workings to and from Stratford Low Level. Stratford Market Station closed in 1957 and weekend services were withdrawn shortly afterwards. The service between North Woolwich and Palace Gates was withdrawn in 1963 and by the mid 1960's freight traffic had dwindled away to almost nothing and one by one the local goods depots were closed with the final blow coming in the late 1960s with the rapid decline of their docks.
The goods service was withdrawn from North Woolwich in 1970 and the passenger service was expected to follow with the line east of Custom house being reduced to single track. A reprieve came at the end of the 1970's when the GLC joined forces with British Rail to revitalize the North Woolwich line by extending the service from Stratford over the freight only North London line to Dalston Junction.
The line between Stratford and Dalston Junction had not seen a passenger service since 1943. New stations at Hackney Wick & Hackney Central were provided and all the stations between Stratford & North Woolwich were rebuilt. At North Woolwich this included the closure of the 1854 Grade II listed building. A new entrance building was provided on the south side of the line and the track re-laid into the southern platform to serve it. A new station provided at West Ham for interchange with the District Line.
The old station building and down (northern) platform were acquired by the Passmore Edwards Trust and after renovation the Old Station Museum was opened by the Queen Mother in November 1984. In May 1985 the line between North Woolwich and Dalston was electrified with a new service introduced between North Woolwich and Richmond with the resumption a full weekend service.
Despite this huge investment in the North Woolwich Line its future was not secure. With the expansion of the Docklands Light Railway the line between Stratford Low Level and North Woolwich was closed on 9th December 2006. The section between Royal Victoria and Stratford has been handed over to the DLR and will be rebuilt as an extension to the DLR between Royal Victoria and Stratford International, due to open in 2010. The section between Custom House and North Woolwich was closed completely as both North Woolwich and Silvertown stations are within 300 yards of existing DLR stations.
There are proposals to hand much of this section of the line
over to Crossrail
who will incorporate it into their route but construction is
unlikely to begin until at least 2013. In the meantime the Old
Station Museum at North Woolwich is due to be cleared of its
exhibits and archive and the Grade II listed building will be
handed over to The London
Rail Heritage Centre who are proposing to run a heritage
rail service between North Woolwich and Custom House and a rail
school until the land is required. This will include the building
a new servicing facility on part of the former goods yard.
Level Station in 1971
Photo by John Law from his UK & Elsewhere Photos web site
|Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 10:04:55 BST||
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