Stratford International

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Jturner98

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Good afternoon everyone, just got on a train at Stratford International and thought what was here before the station was built? The Station opened in 2009 for the southeastern high speed service. Before this was it just an opening or was it made out of the tunnels either end of the station?

thanks
 
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Taunton

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It's right on the site of where Stratford 30A loco depot was, offset by about 45 degrees from how the tracks were there
 

lincolnshire

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Inside the station at surface level is the plaque on the wall about this was the site of Stratford Loco 30A Depot. Its at the opposite end to the shopping centre exit from the station.
 

zwk500

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The station 'box' (And I assume platforms and major structures) was built with HS1. I'm pretty sure the lighter parts (Steelwork, glass, fixtures and fittings) of the station would have been built either at the same time or as soon as they'd finished Ebbsfleet.

Out of interest, does anybody know if there's still customs and passport control equipment and Stratford, and if not was it ever fitted?
 

100andthirty

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The station 'box' (And I assume platforms and major structures) was built with HS1. I'm pretty sure the lighter parts (Steelwork, glass, fixtures and fittings) of the station would have been built either at the same time or as soon as they'd finished Ebbsfleet.

Out of interest, does anybody know if there's still customs and passport control equipment and Stratford, and if not was it ever fitted?
The last time I was at Stratford International, the building that was to be used for international departures/arrivals was being used as offices of some sort. In 2o11.12, this building was used as a conference facility to brief TfL managers about what would be expected of them during the Olympics. When I was there in 2011/12, I saw no sign of any customs/security facilities.
 

Steve Harris

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It's right on the site of where Stratford 30A loco depot was, offset by about 45 degrees from how the tracks were there
Don't forget there wasn't just Stratford depot on the site.
There was also the "works". I can't remember if the building was actually a works or level 5 depot (it did carry out heavier maintenance compared to the depot). I do know that they weren't run by the same forman.
There was a similar setup at Old Oak Common as well.

You also had various railway fed warehouses in the same area, along with the freightliner terminal.
 

uglymonkey

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I always thought they designed it along the lines of Stalinist/brutalist architecture, with a whiff of bunker desperation thrown in. Totally un appealing with no concession to the poor customers who have to use it at all. I'm speaking from trackside - I've never seen it from street level, it may indeed be a workers paradise up there.
 

306024

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........I've never seen it from street level, it may indeed be a workers paradise up there.
Drinkers paradise. Straight out of the station (Westfield side), straight into Tap East.

Comparing then and now you just can't imagine the difference. Without the Olympics you do wonder what would have become of the whole area.
 

swt_passenger

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The station 'box' (And I assume platforms and major structures) was built with HS1. I'm pretty sure the lighter parts (Steelwork, glass, fixtures and fittings) of the station would have been built either at the same time or as soon as they'd finished Ebbsfleet.

Out of interest, does anybody know if there's still customs and passport control equipment and Stratford, and if not was it ever fitted?
I went through on the day HS1 opened, and it still hasn’t changed much as viewed from track level. I think the key point in 2007 was that it was still bang in the middle of a major building site, so it would have been fairly pointless opening. But the main structures must probably have been ready except for internal fit out, I don’t think they’d have wanted cranes operating for instance.

But operationally I think the full 6 track layout was all complete including the ramp up to Temple Mills depot - IIRC the new depot also fully opened with HS1?
 

NotATrainspott

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The Arup routing for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link meant lots of tunnelling. As far as I understand it, the route always planned for a big station box at Stratford as this would break up the two long London tunnels and provide a link for the depot at Temple Mills.

Long tunnels cause problems for fire protection, as the intention is for a train with a fire on board to continue running until clear of the tunnel rather than stopping within it where smoke and access is much more of a problem. The relevant rules for high speed infrastructure in Europe mean that any tunnels longer than 20km have to have special measures to protect against fire. The Channel Tunnel has the service tunnel for evacuation and the Gotthard Base Tunnel has two intermediate emergency stations (Sedrun and Faido) at about 20km intervals along its 57km length. These regulations also make it hard to extend the HS2 tunnels much further into the Chilterns.

Couple this with the need to have intermediate tunnelling points, and track crossovers, and it makes a lot of sense to build one of these big boxes along your route in a convenient location. We've known for a long time that the railway lands at Stratford would be suitable for major regeneration. The Olympics made it more important, but it would have still been a useful area to have a station. The concept for Crossrail since the 1930s has been to link together the Great Western and Great Eastern networks, which makes Stratford particularly useful as an outer interchange point for London.

The extra cost involved in putting a station in the box wouldn't have been that high. You'd need some sort of platforms and some emergency access lifts and stairs down to that level anyway. One of the use cases the station was meant to have was as a London stop for north of London Eurostar services which would turn onto the NLL near King's Cross and then the WCML rather than going down into St Pancras. These haven't ever happened, and it hasn't ever made financial sense to slow down Eurostar services. The need to use the station for the Olympics Javelin service was probably enough to make the small cost of the station worthwhile in the end.
 

Sad Sprinter

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The Arup routing for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link meant lots of tunnelling. As far as I understand it, the route always planned for a big station box at Stratford as this would break up the two long London tunnels and provide a link for the depot at Temple Mills.

Long tunnels cause problems for fire protection, as the intention is for a train with a fire on board to continue running until clear of the tunnel rather than stopping within it where smoke and access is much more of a problem. The relevant rules for high speed infrastructure in Europe mean that any tunnels longer than 20km have to have special measures to protect against fire. The Channel Tunnel has the service tunnel for evacuation and the Gotthard Base Tunnel has two intermediate emergency stations (Sedrun and Faido) at about 20km intervals along its 57km length. These regulations also make it hard to extend the HS2 tunnels much further into the Chilterns.

Couple this with the need to have intermediate tunnelling points, and track crossovers, and it makes a lot of sense to build one of these big boxes along your route in a convenient location. We've known for a long time that the railway lands at Stratford would be suitable for major regeneration. The Olympics made it more important, but it would have still been a useful area to have a station. The concept for Crossrail since the 1930s has been to link together the Great Western and Great Eastern networks, which makes Stratford particularly useful as an outer interchange point for London.

The extra cost involved in putting a station in the box wouldn't have been that high. You'd need some sort of platforms and some emergency access lifts and stairs down to that level anyway. One of the use cases the station was meant to have was as a London stop for north of London Eurostar services which would turn onto the NLL near King's Cross and then the WCML rather than going down into St Pancras. These haven't ever happened, and it hasn't ever made financial sense to slow down Eurostar services. The need to use the station for the Olympics Javelin service was probably enough to make the small cost of the station worthwhile in the end.

Several early plans for Stratford included putting it in deep level tunnels.
 

Taunton

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I always thought they designed it along the lines of Stalinist/brutalist architecture, with a whiff of bunker desperation thrown in.
Off topic, but real Stalinist architecture, from the 1930s-50s in Russia, is considered to be quite attractive there, even more so nowadays, and certainly better than what followed it in the 1960s-70s Soviet times in terms of dimensions, build quality, architectural decoration, etc. The classic example is of course the interior decoration of the original stations, of that era, on the Moscow Metro. Stratford International would have done well if it had those standards.

Meanwhile, back at the site, the bulk of the Works were on the opposite, east side of the Lea Valley lines; the land is progressively having high rise flats built on it, either side of where the lines from International station descend into the tunnel towards Essex. It was a complete works for loco and carriage building and overhaul.
 

Mikey C

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The Arup routing for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link meant lots of tunnelling. As far as I understand it, the route always planned for a big station box at Stratford as this would break up the two long London tunnels and provide a link for the depot at Temple Mills.

Long tunnels cause problems for fire protection, as the intention is for a train with a fire on board to continue running until clear of the tunnel rather than stopping within it where smoke and access is much more of a problem. The relevant rules for high speed infrastructure in Europe mean that any tunnels longer than 20km have to have special measures to protect against fire. The Channel Tunnel has the service tunnel for evacuation and the Gotthard Base Tunnel has two intermediate emergency stations (Sedrun and Faido) at about 20km intervals along its 57km length. These regulations also make it hard to extend the HS2 tunnels much further into the Chilterns.

Couple this with the need to have intermediate tunnelling points, and track crossovers, and it makes a lot of sense to build one of these big boxes along your route in a convenient location. We've known for a long time that the railway lands at Stratford would be suitable for major regeneration. The Olympics made it more important, but it would have still been a useful area to have a station. The concept for Crossrail since the 1930s has been to link together the Great Western and Great Eastern networks, which makes Stratford particularly useful as an outer interchange point for London.

The extra cost involved in putting a station in the box wouldn't have been that high. You'd need some sort of platforms and some emergency access lifts and stairs down to that level anyway. One of the use cases the station was meant to have was as a London stop for north of London Eurostar services which would turn onto the NLL near King's Cross and then the WCML rather than going down into St Pancras. These haven't ever happened, and it hasn't ever made financial sense to slow down Eurostar services. The need to use the station for the Olympics Javelin service was probably enough to make the small cost of the station worthwhile in the end.
Off topic, but Stratford International made a terrible station for use as a high volume shuttle for Olympics, as the access to the platforms was so slow and restricted. It's fine for it's normal level of passengers though
 

Horizon22

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I went through on the day HS1 opened, and it still hasn’t changed much as viewed from track level. I think the key point in 2007 was that it was still bang in the middle of a major building site, so it would have been fairly pointless opening. But the main structures must probably have been ready except for internal fit out, I don’t think they’d have wanted cranes operating for instance.

But operationally I think the full 6 track layout was all complete including the ramp up to Temple Mills depot - IIRC the new depot also fully opened with HS1?

It was also intended to be a stop for Eurostar also before it was noted that the 140mph running would make the plan redundant considering how close it is to St Pancras. Even then, SE services barely get to full speed.
 

Ianno87

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It was also intended to be a stop for Eurostar also before it was noted that the 140mph running would make the plan redundant considering how close it is to St Pancras. Even then, SE services barely get to full speed.

It's more the fact that for Eurostar, the cost of serving/staffing 3 non-London stations probably doesn't stack up. And then how you serve them as you probably don't want more than one call between London and the Tunnel, otherwise the dominant London flow won't like the "slow" journey. So services would be thinly spread between the three.
 

Ianno87

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Presume more of them could call at Ashford to tap into the Kent market with a limited service at the other two ?

The "M25 catchment" market outweighs the "Kent" market. Hence why Eurostar prioritise serving Ebbsfleet over Ashford.
 

Taunton

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The "M25 catchment" market outweighs the "Kent" market. Hence why Eurostar prioritise serving Ebbsfleet over Ashford.
We are users of Ebbsfleet; from the house in Canary Wharf it's actually quicker to drive to Ebbsfleet than get to St Pancras, and you can park close to the station entrance. It has however always seemed a wasteful provision and has never really taken off. Given the security etc staff in place for the handful of departures, the station alone must cost more to run than its revenue. Waterloo was fine; St Pancras notably less so.

On several occasions there when returning, especially on dark winter evenings, I've had to advise lost-looking passengers disembarking there, in a variety of languages and gestures, that they are not at London yet and should get back on board.
 

Bald Rick

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Out of interest, does anybody know if there's still customs and passport control equipment and Stratford, and if not was it ever fitted?

It was never fitted. But the rooms they were supposed to be in are quite useful as function space.


One interesting curiosity about Stratford International is that it is below the water table. There are some massive dewatering pumps that keep the water table down in the area, which stops the station floating.
 

Drifter47

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The "M25 catchment" market outweighs the "Kent" market. Hence why Eurostar prioritise serving Ebbsfleet over Ashford.
Ebbsfleet is difficult to travel to by rail for many in Kent, E Sussex and probably a little further afield. Ashford International has better rail connections and in my opinion with better station facilities whereas Ebbsfleet struggle with accommodating Disney passengers and have to limit the capacity by restricting the number of ticket sales from that station, so I believe. Parking for 5,000 vehicles is another negative for Ebbsfleet and its Tread Lightly target it promotes.
 

superjohn

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It was also intended to be a stop for Eurostar also before it was noted that the 140mph running would make the plan redundant considering how close it is to St Pancras. Even then, SE services barely get to full speed.
I understood it was to be a stop on the regional Eurostar services as a means of opening them up to London passengers as well as those from further afield. When the regional services were cancelled the station became the white elephant it now is.

See below a really interesting historic aerial view of the area that I found a few years ago. For reference when comparing with the current view you can see Stratford regional station towards the bottom right, Temple Mills yard where the Eurostar depot now stands can be seen in the top right quarter and the Waterworks River that runs alongside the Olympic Aquatics Centre is on the bottom left side. Stratford loco depot is the long building immediately to the right of the S and that area is where the International station is now. The larger building directly above the depot is the Regional Repair Shop, also known as Stratford Works and latterly Stratford Level 5 depot.

1619288818223.jpeg

I tried to search for it again so I can link directly but I can’t find it anywhere now. Note how the watermark S in the centre is reversed, this is because the original picture was flipped left/right. This caused me considerable confusion until I flipped it back!

And another one showing the area from a different angle. Does anybody know what the long shed between the works and depot buildings was?
1619290102532.jpeg
 
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gottago

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I understood it was to be a stop on the regional Eurostar services as a means of opening them up to London passengers as well as those from further afield. When the regional services were cancelled the station became the white elephant it now is.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a white elephant, more mothballed infrastructure that could eventually become useful. The domestic station has been a success and I can imagine eventually there could well be a business case for bringing the International platforms into use as East London becomes busier. Considering how regularly overcrowded security and departures at St Pancras was pre-Covid it’s not impossible that they might consider bringing Stratford into use to relieve the station somewhat. I can imagine a lot of people who travel to St Pancras for Eurostar would find Stratford more convenient. It would certainly get more use than Ebbsfleet ever will.
 

Ianno87

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I wouldn’t necessarily call it a white elephant, more mothballed infrastructure that could eventually become useful. The domestic station has been a success and I can imagine eventually there could well be a business case for bringing the International platforms into use as East London becomes busier. Considering how regularly overcrowded security and departures at St Pancras was pre-Covid it’s not impossible that they might consider bringing Stratford into use to relieve the station somewhat. I can imagine a lot of people who travel to St Pancras for Eurostar would find Stratford more convenient. It would certainly get more use than Ebbsfleet ever will.

Classic case of either taking the opportunity to build it with HS1, or never being able to come back and build it later.

As I've said repeatedly, had they not been built, there would be endless threads on here about how it was "stupid", "short sighted" or a "mistake".
 

306024

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And another one showing the area from a different angle. Does anybody know what the long shed between the works and depot buildings was?

If it’s the one I‘m sure you are referring to that’s A shed, opened in 1958, and used for maintaining DMUs after B and C sheds opened to maintain the locomotives a couple of years later.

Meanwhile if you’ve plenty of time this link explains on page 4 how Stratford International was intended to be used for trains beyond London.

https://www.arup.com/-/media/arup/files/publications/t/the_arup_journal_issue_1_2004_comp.pdf

The station box was originally the construction site for tunnelling. Page 25 refers to the use of the spoil from tunnelling to build up the land around Stratford.
 
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BayPaul

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It would certainly get more use than Ebbsfleet ever will.
Assuming that Eurostar knows what they are doing, presumably Ebbsfleet actually gets far more international passengers than Stratford would - the M25 P+R market shouldn't be under estimated. And of course, it is easy to just get a connecting South Eastern train from Stratford International.
 

Aictos

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We are users of Ebbsfleet; from the house in Canary Wharf it's actually quicker to drive to Ebbsfleet than get to St Pancras, and you can park close to the station entrance. It has however always seemed a wasteful provision and has never really taken off. Given the security etc staff in place for the handful of departures, the station alone must cost more to run than its revenue. Waterloo was fine; St Pancras notably less so.

On several occasions there when returning, especially on dark winter evenings, I've had to advise lost-looking passengers disembarking there, in a variety of languages and gestures, that they are not at London yet and should get back on board.
Only problem with Waterloo being "fine" was the slow trundle though SE London, that and being only really accessible from Wessex vs St Pancras that doesn't have the issues of pathing though a congested SE London metro as it uses HS1 and being based at St Pancras makes it more accessible for far more of the country eg Midland Mainline, East Coast Mainline, West Coast Mainline plus Kent, the move to St Pancras was far superior to staying at Waterloo.
 

superjohn

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If it’s the one I‘m sure you are referring to that’s A shed, opened in 1958, and used for maintaining DMUs after B and C sheds opened to maintain the locomotives a couple of years later.
Were B and C sheds the two ends of the loco depot?
 
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