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Stratford: one stop from Amsterdam?
Stratford is already excellently connected. In the coming years you’ll be able to get here faster, more frequently, and from further afield than ever before. Work was completed in 2012 on a £200 million investment programme at Stratford Station with new entrances and ticket halls, three new platforms, and fourteen new lifts for step-free access throughout. 35,000 passengers used it every hour in 2007; it’s now 55,000; and by 2018 everyday rush hours will see the station handling 80,000 people. Indeed the station is now one of the most used in the country, with around 100 million users per year.
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which already connects Stratford to Canary Wharf has rcently been extended to connect to Stratford International Station. It links direct to London City Airport, with its daily flights to over 30 destinations including Zurich and New York, the Excel exhibition centre, the emerging Royal Docks business area, and Woolwich Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Crossrail will connect the west and east sides of the city via two huge tunnels bored under central London. Trains will travel from Heathrow right through to the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and out to Essex and Kent; with Stratford functioning as a key link in the chain. When Crossrail opens fully in 2019, journey times from Stratford will be just 10 minutes to Farringdon, 13 to Tottenham Court Road, and an impressive 49 minutes straight to Heathrow and its worldwide links.
From 2016, the newly-liberalised pan-European rail network will allow operators such as Deutsche Bahn to be able to exploit the £210m Stratford International Station to introduce direct international travel from Stratford to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. And when the new HS2 network is completed, it will be possible to take direct trains from Stratford International to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and even Scotland. However you can already take a high speed train from Stratford International; to St Pancras in just 6 minutes, or onwards to Kent and beyond with Southeastern Trains.
And as you’ll see if you look at our public realm section, there are also all sorts of improvements underway around Stratford’s streets. At the same time, tens of millions of pounds invesement into major infrastructure work on A-roads, bridges, subways and crossings in and around Stratford means that access by car has become faster and far more efficient.
All in all, Stratford is one of the best connected destinations in the UK. Now, where’s that Oyster card?