Article date 24 February 2010
Latest revision 19 November 2013
This article concerns routes from Hertford North/Gordon Hill to Stansted Airport and Stratford/Barking. This article was originally written when we were proposing a London Rail Orbital, which is no longer the case. Some parts of this article reflect its history. However, it also deals with connections to Stansted Airport, as also the High Speed network, and these are very current.
It should be noted therefore that some parts of this article are of historical interest only, particularly notes 3, 6 and 7.
Possible new rail links are coloured in orange. Only selected stations are included.
Ebbsfleet International is reached from Barking by using an existing connection on to the High Speed 1 line. A major motivation for our original proposal for a London Rail Orbital was to improve interchange facilities between the conventional rail network and High Speed 1 at Ebbsfleet International, however we now wish to propose that better interchange between conventional rail and High Speed 1 is achieved by provision of Aylesbury Interchange (AI). Hence the facility for conventional rail services to run onto the High Speed 1 line at Barking to Ebbsfleet International and then turn off to return to conventional rail lines is no longer seen as a priority.
Notes to plan:
- For planning of an east west Orbital route north of Watford and south of St Albans to the line between Hertford North and Gordon Hill, which is also the proposed route for an HS2 HS1 east west link line, visit St Albans Rail : Possible new lines in the vicinity of St Albans .
- The East Coast Main Line (ECML) runs from Kings Cross to the north. The line through Bowes Park, Gordon Hill and Hertford North is known as the Hertford loop. North of Hertford, it rejoins the ECML at Stevenage.
- (Historical) ECML to Hertford East. Provides access from the East Coast Main Line (ECML) via Seven Sisters to Barking and Ebbsfleet International. Not needed in the case of a tunnel from Gordon Hill to Enfield Town (note 5) although it does also provide a direct route to Stratford. This chord has been the subject of a study by the East West Rail Consortium (Central Section Report February 2009, Figure 4.3 being an aerial view of the locality), albeit for different reasons relating to a route from Oxford.
- Hertford North to Hertford East. This has the potential to enable services from Oxford and Watford Junction to Stansted Airport (in conjunction with note 12), also an indirect route via Seven Sisters to Barking and Ebbsfleet International. It also enables routes to Stratford. The means of constructing this chord is the subject of a separate article Hertford North to Hertford East (construction) . Also visit St Albans Rail : History of local railway lines including Hertford North connections .
- Gordon Hill to Enfield Town. This would be by a tunnel, provisionally known as the Enfield Tunnel. This would seem to be an appropriate alignment for services from Watford Junction and from the ECML to Barking and Ebbsfleet International via Seven Sisters.
- (Historical) Bowes Park to Seven Sisters. A track that provided this alignment ran from Palace Gates to Seven Sisters. It closed in 1965. It is now completely built over. This might have provided an alternative to a tunnel from Gordon Hill to Enfield Town - previous note.
- (Historical) Edmonton Green (north of) to Angel Road. A track that provided this alignment closed in 1964. It is now completely built over. This might have provided an alternative for routes to Stratford without running on to and off the line from Gospel Oak to Barking (notes 8, 9), although if that can be provided satisfactorily then there is no good reason why this link would have served any purpose.
- Existing chord enables trains to run from Seven Sisters onto the Gospel Oak to Barking line. This chord is currently single track, formerly dual track (date of closure of second track unknown). In the opposite direction i.e. to Seven Sisters, a track traversal is necessary whilst passing through South Tottenham station. We anticipate this would not meet current safety criteria for a new rail link. In-station track traversal can be avoided by upgrading the chord from single track to re-instate dual tracks.
- Existing chord from the Gospel Oak to Barking line to Stratford (or, indeed, to Liverpool Street). Dual track.
- To provide a route to Stansted Airport, there could be a link line runnning eastwards to join the line from Seven Sisters to Cheshunt. Probably an alternative to a route via Hertford (notes 4 & 12). This link line would only be feasible if a southerly option were selected for an Orbital route from Watford Junction to the line between Hertford North and Gordon Hill (note 1) (for which visit St Albans Rail ). This would indeed be the case if the line were to be used as an HS2 HS1 east west link line.
- Kings Cross to Stansted Airport, reference previous note.
- Hertford East to Stansted Airport/Cambridge : northbound chord at Broxbourne Junction, possibly in the proximity of Rye House station (station not shown). Services via for example Watford Junction and Hertford East to Stansted Airport and Cambridge bypassing London necessitate a train reversal e.g. at Cheshunt unless this chord is implemented. A discussion of how this chord might be constructed is the subject of a separate article Hertford East to Stansted Airport and Cambridge (construction) .
- We hypothesise a railway line to connect with a possible Lower Thames Rail Crossing and which we have named the Eastern Promise. Access to the ECML from a possible Lower Thames Rail Crossing would probably be via Cambridge. The line from Hertford East is not necessarily the starting point for any such line that might connect with a possible Lower Thames Rail Crossing.
- An alternative possible starting point for the Eastern Promise, reference previous note.
- Possible link between High Speed 2 and High Speed 1 (Ebbsfleet International). Further discussion below.
- Possible link from High Speed 1 (Ebbsfleet International) to Hertford loop for connection to the ECML, reference previous note. Alternatively, this chord might be located further to the west, connecting directly on to the ECML (not shown).
- Possible link from High Speed 2 to High Speed 1 connecting to High Speed 1 at Stratford. This chord itself, possibly in the vicinity of Waltham Cross, would probably be a tunnel. Further discussion below.
Note 15 : It is possible that a link line from High Speed 1 could diverge from the existing line north of Ebbsfleet International and the tunnel under the Thames. This could run to perhaps the vicinity of Waltham Cross and then on an east-west orientation to connect to High Speed 2. Such a line might be aligned to the north of Watford and the south of St Albans, joining the High Speed 2 line somewhere in the vicinity of Princes Risborough. (Any such line would overlap with the proposal for an Orbital line from Watford Junction to the line between Hertford North and Gordon Hill (note 1), for which visit St Albans Rail ). A line from the vicinity of the tunnel under the Thames to perhaps the vicinity of Waltham Cross would be relatively expensive, unless other benefits were somehow to be obtained from its construction. If not, we suggest a connection to HS1 at Stratford (below) would be more likely to be cost-effective.
Note 17 : It is thought that a shorter link line between High Speed 2 and High Speed 1 could be constructed by connecting to High Speed 1 at Stratford. Trains could connect on to the existing line through Tottenham Hale, this potentially being facilitated by considering a diversion of at least some regional services into Liverpool Street to run via Seven Sisters rather than via Tottenham Hale. The line via Tottenham Hale used to be a 4-track line. There is an existing connection on to the High Speed 1 line at Stratford, from the Temple Mills depot, however it is in the direction of St Pancras and therefore unlikely to be of use for a HS2 to HS1 connection. New infrastructure would therefore be needed on HS1 at Stratford by construction of a connection on to High Speed 1 in the direction away from London i.e. towards Ebbsfleet International. Trains from the High Speed 2 line would run to Ebbsfleet International, bypassing Central London. Possibly the connection might be accessed by running on an existing loop line through a Stratford Regional platform from where the High Speed 1 line would be accessed, however we have not assessed the feasibility of any such connection.
An alternative for connecting High Speed 2 to High Speed 1 is at St Pancras, further to the west and outside the scope of this article. This is discussed in Introduction to an HS2 HS1 link via east west rail and represents our current thinking.
A second north-south High Speed railway line is a possibility. It is possible that this could run to the east of London and connect onto High Speed 1 to the east of London. A High Speed 2 to High Speed 1 link line might then also provide a link line between High Speed 2 and High Speed 2B.
Stansted Airport benefits from a railway station integrated within the airport. A greater effort to capitalise on this by providing a greater range of rail services to the airport would seem to be appropriate. This is very much within the scope of this article (notes 4, 12). It is also within the scope of our proposal for a railway line from Watford, St Albans, Welwyn Garden City and Hertford to Stansted Airport, for which visit St Albans Rail .