London is busy. Which is why me visiting a station in the Greater London area as part of this series is slightly odd. However, Angel Road is used by a fraction of the people who use nearby stations. It isn't down into the hundreds, nor is it in the low thousands, but, with around 33,500 passengers last year, it is the least used station in London, and receives a service that reflects it. Trains only stop around the AM and PM peak, from 6am to 9am and 4pm to 8pm. Even then trains are only every 30-60 minutes, even going with the peak flow. Angel Road is also the least used station in London, a title it has exchanged with Sudbury & Harrow Road for the past years.
I navigated the DLR, Underground and National Rail to get me to Stratford. I then picked up the first down peak service from Stratford to Angel Road, at 16:00. It crawled the distance. The Stratford to Tottenham Hale section has always been a very slow section of railway, and north of Tottenham Hale, the train stopped everywhere between there and Angel Road. As the train approached, it passed the site of a new-build station 300m south of Angel Road, which will open as Meridian Wharf. I will discuss this later on.
The train stopped, and I got out, along with 4 other people.
Angel Road is a weird station. It is surrounded by main roads, industrial areas and fly-tipping. It has a Permit to Travel machine, which doesn't work, Oyster Card readers, but no ticket machine. The departure boards don't work. Other facilities include benches (a lot of them) and a shelter.
The worst part about it is the exit. Instead of leading directly onto the road that runs parallel to the station, there is a path which leads to a load of steps which eventually leads out onto a flyover. This is about 200-300 metres. The route is shown with pictures below.
For a station in this series, it is used quite well. All the trains that stopped either picked up or set down passengers (both in most cases). Two services were cancelled (welcome to Greater Anglia), which resulted in quite a crowd (OK, ten people) forming on the platform. A couple who had been on the platform for about 90 minutes waiting for a train eventually left on foot. I think they had just missed the 15:55 departure, and, with the 16:53 being cancelled, they just got bored and left.
The drama of the evening was provided by this person, pictured below.
He sat down on the edge of the platform, with his legs dangling over the edge. I looked up Network Rail's number and a train passed on the opposite track, the driver sounding the horn loudly. The person did not respond. I had found the number for emergencies, called it, and gave them the information. The next train which passed on the same track as the person was partially obstructing was held at the signal before the station. It approached under extreme caution. Of course, the person had stood up by this point. After 3 trains had passed the platform under caution, the signaller must had cleared the blockage and trains passed at the normal speed. In conclusion, what a complete git. He got on the next service which stopped.
Network Rail also sent a couple of people down to make sure he wasn't still hanging around. He wasn't. I gave them a description and told them where he'd gone. They departed.
I then departed on the next service, repeating the journey out, but in reverse and with a sandwich.
Firstly, don't be an arse on or near the railways.
Secondly, Angel Road and Meridian Water. Meridian Water is a new housing project in the area, that will boost passenger numbers in the area. In order to accommodate this, a new station is being built, and the line from Tottenham Hale to Angel Road is being quadrupled to increase capacity. The new station is situated a few hundred metres south of Angel Road, meaning that Angel Road will be shut. The estimated completion date is 2019.
Thirdly, the reasons for the peak-only service. I was at the station for 2h45m, and every train that stopped had people either get on or get off. It wasn't fantastically busy, but neither was it deserted. Especially as early as 4pm, a time when the PM-peak hasn't really started, the station had a reasonable number of people at it. So, should it have a more frequent and regular service? Yes, it should. But, with the current pathing restrictions on the 2 track West Anglia Main Line, it wouldn't be feasible without slowing down the faster services (Stanstead Express or other Greater Anglia) which also run. The point at which more paths exist is also the point where Angel Road shuts, and Meridian Water opens meaning that it is unlikely that Angel Road will get anything more than the current service level.
Finally, the path. This seems like the worst possible sort of entrance/exit for a station. There is a road less than 10 metres from the up platform, and yet, passengers from there have to go over the footbridge, along the path, up stairs, under the flyover, and up some more stairs to actually get onto the flyover. Observe the diagram below which shows the current route from the station to a nearby hotel (blue) and the one that should be available (red).
Author - Felix