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Railwatch 084 - June 2000

Cyberspace campaign

By Katy Andrews

Leyton-based pressure group Stop This 'Orrible Relief Road Madness! (STORRM!) which is calling for Lea Bridge Station to be reopened, have launched a campaign using the World Wide Web.

It asks supporters to log on to the information superhighway to register their vote for Lea Bridge Station as Railtrack's Station Of The Year 2000.

Lea Bridge Station - the only station in Waltham Forest on the Lea Valley Line from Stratford to Stansted airport - was closed in June 1986.

Now only a "ghost train" passes through it, one passenger train runs once a day from Enfield to Stratford - but it never comes back!

STORRM! said: "Reopening the station and running a proper train service would really help people in Leyton and Clapton, opening up new work and travel possibilities for us without causing more road congestion.

"If Railtrack reopened the station it would definitely be our Station Of The Year! Readers were able to vote for Lea Bridge station, saying why it should be reopened, on Railtrack's web site http://www.Railtrack.co.uk/corporate/soty_2000/index.htm

Forms for voting in the Station of the Year competition were also available at some main line stations. The winner will be announced in October.

The section of the Lea Valley Line south of Hall Farm Curve now has just one passenger train daily, running mid-morning from Enfield via Seven Sisters to Stratford, in only one direction. It is operated by West Anglia Great Northern Railways. STORRM! was set up by local residents in December 1997 to press for the reopening of Lea Bridge Station and the restoration of passenger services on the Lea Valley Line. This was in response to the London Borough of Waltham Forest Council's decision to build the controversial Leyton "relief road" between the M11 link road and Walthamstow through Leyton Marshes.

This was pushed through by the Labour Group on the council against strong local opinion and against the findings of the Unitary Development Plan public inquiry in 1995 which said that the road would release suppressed demand and create intolerable pressure to be extended northwards, and should be deleted from the UDP.

The environmental impact assessment study into this scheme had stated that unless the railway was reopened as well, the road scheme could not represent an environmental benefit. Although Waltham Forest Council has gone ahead regardless with building this road, until STORRM! began campaigning for the railway to be reopened nothing had been done since the station was closed by British Rail.

However, following a council motion put forward by Liberal Democrat councillor Charlie Tuckey, Waltham Forest is now officially on record as being in favour of restoring the service and reopening Lea Bridge Station.

Several local councillors in Hackney have also been very supportive of this campaign. Pressure now needs to be brought on Railtrack and the present train operating company, WAGN.

Katy Andrews, STORRM! Hornbeam Environmental Centre, 458 Hoe Street, Leyton Green, London E17 9AH.katya@kay-oss.demon.co.uk

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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