West Anglia Main Line

Stansted Express at Enfield Lock

TypeCommuter rail, Suburban rail
SystemNational Rail
LocaleGreater London
East of England
TerminiLiverpool Street, London
OwnerNetwork Rail
Operator(s)Greater Anglia
(Stansted Express)
(north of Stansted Airport junction)
Rolling stockClass 170 "Turbostar"
(north of Stansted Airport junction)
Class 315
Class 317
Class 379 "Electrostar"
No. of tracks2-4
Track gauge{{#switch:sg
|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in)
Electrification25 kV 50hz AC OHLE
Operating speed100 mph (Template:Convert/outsep) maximum
Route map
Template:West Anglia Main Line

This route map:  view  talk  edit 

The West Anglia Main Line is one of the two main lines which run from Liverpool Street, the other being the Great Eastern Main Line. It runs generally north from London, through the towns of Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Harlow, Bishop's Stortford and Audley End (near Saffron Walden) station before reaching Cambridge, with two branches serving Hertford and Stansted Airport. The line runs along the border between Hertfordshire and Essex for much of its length.

History[edit | edit source]

The line was opened in the 1840s. The first section was built for the Northern and Eastern Railway from Stratford to Broxbourne and opened in 1840. It was extended northwards in stages, reaching Spellbrook Template:Convert/mi short of Bishops Stortford in 1842. In 1845 the N&ER reached Bishops Stortford, and the Eastern Counties Railway opened the section from Bishops Stortford to Cambridge as part of its extension to Ely and Brandon.

British Railways Eastern Region electrified from Liverpool Street to Bishop's Stortford by 1969 and from there to Cambridge in 1987. The power supply is by 25 kV AC overhead lines.

Service[edit | edit source]

Services from Liverpool Street to Cambridge, Hertford East and Stansted Airport are operated by Greater Anglia.

Express services from Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport are operated by Stansted Express, a sub-brand of Greater Anglia.

Services from Stansted Airport to Cambridge (and onward to Birmingham New Street via Peterborough) are operated by CrossCountry.

The line is part of the Network Rail Strategic Route 5, which comprises SRS 05.01 and part of 05.05. It is classified as a London and South East commuter line.[1]

In London, the line also forms the Tottenham Hale branch of the Lea Valley Lines.

Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

The line is double track for most of its length, with small sections of single track on the Stansted branch and at Ware, with some quadruple track between Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street. The line is electrified at 25 kV AC and has a loading gauge of W8 for most of it length except for the Stansted branch which is W6.[1]

Passenger services on the line mostly use Class 315s or Class 317s and brand new Bombardier Class 379s. Class 170 DMUs are used for services north from Stansted Airport (Cross Country services only).

Future developments[edit | edit source]

The Greater Anglia RUS, published in December 2007, outlined a number of developments intended for the West Anglia route. Proposals for the period 2009-14 include the extension of remaining non-compliant platforms on the Liverpool Street-Cambridge route and at Stansted Airport to handle 12 cars; the reinstatement of 9-car trains during peak times on the Hertford East, Enfield Town, Cheshunt via Southbury and Chingford branch services, requiring a small amount of infrastructure; stabling and maintenance facilities for the larger, enhanced fleet; removal of the three level crossings between Tottenham Hale and Waltham Cross and power supply to be enhanced for some of these options and likely future requirements.[2]

File:Harlow EMU 2001.JPG

A WAGN EMU travels through Harlow Town station in 2001.

If Stansted Airport's expansion is authorised it is planned that the Main Line will see many further changes. Long term proposals include the four-tracking of the route between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne junction; an additional tunnel and platform edge on the Stansted Airport branch; one additional train per hour serving Stansted and up to six further trains per hour at peak times, including four into Stratford as a terminus.[2] More stations, such as Broxbourne, will also have platform extensions to accommodate 12 car trains.

In early 2011, ticket barriers were installed at Bishop's Stortford, Harlow Town, Broxbourne, Cheshunt and Hackney Downs, some of the busiest stations on the line. This was done to reduce the need for ticket inspectors on the Stansted Express service and reduce fare evasion.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Route 5 - West Anglia. Network Rail. Retrieved on 2009-05-22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Greater Anglia Route Utilisation Strategy. Network Rail. Retrieved on 2009-05-08.

Template:Railway lines in London Template:Railway lines in the East of England

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