Lea Valley Lines

Lea Valley Lines
Lea Valley Lines

A National Express branded class 317 at Edmonton Green.
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
East of England
Termini Chingford
Enfield Town
London Liverpool Street
Stations 31
Services 5
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) National Express East Anglia
Depot(s) Ilford
Rolling stock British Rail Class 315
British Rail Class 317
No. of tracks 2-4
Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 25 kV 50hz AC Overhead lines
Operating speed Below 75 mph (121 km/h)

The Lea Valley Lines are three commuter lines and two branches in North East London, so named because they run along the valley of the River Lea. They were operated for much of their history by the Great Eastern Railway.[1]



The first section 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 the above line at Stratford to Broxbourne on 15 September 1840, and to Harlow in 1841; though it remained a separate entity the N&ER's line was leased to the EC from 1 January 1844. A branch from Broxbourne to Hertford was opened in 1843.

Enfield was reached on 1 March 1849 by a single-line 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 eventually provided by the GER in 1872, from Bethnal Green via Hackney Downs and Stoke Newington, which section 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 section of the old line between Angel Road and Lower Edmonton was closed to regular 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; the line closed completely in 1964 and the rails removed soon after.

Another branch divided off eastwards north of Hackney Downs to Walthamstow in 1870, extended to Chingford in 1873.

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

Route and services

All lines start at London Liverpool Street and are operated by National Express East Anglia. The routes are:

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.[2]

A minor service occurs running on from the Seven Sisters branch to Stratford via the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the West Anglia Main Line. This is one of only two places on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line where it is electrified.


The line is double track for most of its length, with some multitrack between Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street. It is electrified at 25 kV AC using overhead line equipment and a line speed of between 40-75 mph except between Cheshunt and Coppermill junction where the linespeed is 60-85 mph. Different sections of the line have different loading gauges. Most of the line is W8, with the branches to Enfield Town and Chingford being W6 and the branch to Stratford being W9.[2]


  1. ^ White, H.P. (1987). Thomas, David St John. ed. A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain — Volume 3: Greater London (3rd ed.). Dawlish: David & Charles. 
  2. ^ a b "Route 5 - West Anglia". Network Rail. 2009. http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/StrategicBusinessPlan/RoutePlans/2009/Route%205%20-%20West%20Anglia.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 

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

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