Crossrail and Forest Gate

Monday 5 January 2015

 Crossrail is Europe's largest construction project, currently employing 10,000 people, on over 40 sites, along its route from Reading in the west to Shenfield in the east. It will deliver a major new, heavy-duty, suburban rail service for London and the south-east.

It will connect the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow airport to commuter areas to the east and west of the capital.  See maps, for the routes and the table at the end of the blog for the projected journey times to each of the other 39 stations, from Forest Gate.

The complete Crossrail route - source: the company's website
It will, of course, be stopping at Forest Gate, which is one of the reasons for the upsurge in interest in E7 as a des res area, and accounted for the preposterous, and thankfully rejected, Obsidian proposals to build a 19 story block of flats adjacent to the local railway station, a couple of years back.

Forest Gate will be one of the first areas to benefit from the new rolling stock to be introduced to the line - with the Shenfield to Liverpool Street section likely to become fully functional in May 2017, two years ahead of the completion of the whole 100 km project.

What else can local residents expect from this huge transport development?

Property prices will continue to boom, as the completion date approaches, and doubtless there will be further attempts to resurrect plans to build on the projected Obsidian footprint - Earlham Grove and parts of Woodgrange Road - including the almost planning blighted row of shops between Forest Gate station and the hideous Durning Hall sprawl.

Forest Gate Plaza (1) - an artist's impression - source: December Newham News
The new properties, and incomers ,will doubtless accelerate the changing social profile of the area, as young, middle class commuters displace recent, poorer, immigrant communities who found the area attractive because of its relative cheap, and often rather poor, housing stock.

So, gentrification will continue, and with it more upmarket food and shopping options, no doubt.

Environmental changes

The £15bn Crossrail construction costs includes a proposal to make Forest Gate Station disabled-friendly - by offering step-free access to platforms, and will almost certainly spruce up the rather shabby and dull appearance of the platforms and current staircases.

The project is also investing £2.3m in transforming the open space around the station, before the Crossrail becomes fully functional in 2019.

Consultations on what the upgraded station environs should look like will begin later this year (2015). Crossrail's environmental architects and designers have come up with a couple of sketches of what the area could look like - to assist with the consultation process, and these are shown in this blog.

Their current thoughts are to:

• Improve pavement width, outside the station;
• Remove the slip road to Woodgrange Road, from Forest Lane and replace it with a revised, raised, signalled T junction, with improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and create a new public space; and
• Introduce a 20 mph speed limit in the area, to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety

Forest Gate Plaza (2): source: Newham Council website

Service improvements

Passenger levels at Forest Gate have increased enormously over the last few years, as Stratford has expanded and train frequencies have increased.  Six trains an hour is now the norm, for all but very off-peak times.

This level of service will more than double, once the new rolling stock is introduced.

Crossrail trains will be 200 metres long and carry 1,500 passengers, about twice the number catered for on existing London Underground services.

There will be 12 Crossrail trains per hour (every five minutes) in peak periods, and six per hour in off peak times, going through Forest Gate station.  There will, additionally, be four non-Crossrail trains per hour stopping at Forest Gate - presumably the longer distance trains on the main rail network, by whichever company has the franchise, then.

Journey times

Below are the projected travel times to each of the 39 stations on the Crossrail route, from Forest Gate.  All journeys are direct, except the four stations on the south-eastern spur (Custom House, Canary Wharf, Woolwich and Abbey Wood), when a change of train is required at Whitechapel.

Crossrail's north-east spur - source: the company's website

The time of the Whitechapel change would need to be added to each of those four journey times, set out below:

Abbey Wood - 25 mins  (plus Whitechapel change)
Acton - 28 mins
Bond St - 20 mins
Brentwood - 26 mins
Burnham - 54 mins
Canary Wharf - 14 mins (plus Whitechapel change)
Chadwell Heath - 12 mins
Custom House - 17 mins ( plus Whitechapel change)
Ealing Broadway - 31 mins
Farringdon - 15 mins
Gide Park - 19 mins
Goodmayes - 10 mins
Hanwell - 33 mins
Harold Wood - 22 mins
Hayes and Harlington - 40 mins
Heathrow (terminals 1,2,3) - 46 min
Heathrow (terminal 4) - 52 mins
Ilford - 5 mins
Iver - 45 mins
Langley - 47 mins
Liverpool Street - 13 mins
Maidenhead - 62 mins
Manor Park - 2 mins
Maryland - 2 mins
Paddington - 23 mins
Reading - 72 mins
Romford - 15 mins
Seven Kings - 8 mins
Shenfield - 31 mins
Slough - 50- mins
Southall - 37 mins
Stratford - 4 mins
Taplow - 57 mins
Tottenham Court Road - 18 mins
Twyford - 66 mins
West Drayton -  42 mins
West Ealing - 33 mins
Whitechapel - 10 mins
Woolwich - 10 mins (plus Whitechapel change)

For regular progress reports on Crossrail developments , see here. We will provide further updates on significant Forest Gate -related proposals.


  1. " There will, additionally, be four non-Crossrail trains per hour stopping at Forest Gate - presumably the longer distance trains on the main rail network, by whichever company has the franchise, then."

    I think these trains (which will only be there in peak hours) are the "additional service of 6 trains per hour between Gidea Park and the existing Liverpool Street terminus station"

    The north-east section page isn't consistent about whether they are 4 or 6, or for that matter whether they count as Crossrail or not, but it's unlikely they would be longer distance trains.

    So that leaves us off-peak with the 6 trains we already have, but nicer :-)

    On the bright side, these are 'minimum indicative frequencies' so it's just possible we could be in for a pleasant surprise. Here is a comprehensive article

  2. I wonder how rammed the trains will be by the time they get to FOG? At least at the moment some of the later trains start at Ilford which means I can get on

  3. Here's a good article showing the expected service pattern:
    It states 16 trains per hour to Forest Gate, peak; at least to Liverpool St, 12 of those going at least as far as Paddington. Doesn't look like there will be trains skipping stations.


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