Our Eastern Division is an integral part of Railfuture's London and South East regional branch. We aim to be the leading independent advocate for the rail industry and rail users in the area.


Our area covers non-TfL services in east and north-east London and south Essex, including the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea.

Within Eastern Division's area there is one Rail User Group affiliated to Railfuture:
The local Community Rail Partnership in our area is the Essex & South Suffolk CRP, three of whose six lines are within this Division:

The Division usually meets bi-monthly on the second Wednesday of the odd-numbered months, starting ONLINE at 19.00.
The next one will be on Wednesday 13 March 2024 (not yet at the previous, pre-pandemic place: St. John's Church, Stratford Broadway, London E15 1NG). The following meeting meeting will be held on Wednesday 8 May 2024.

A key topic in the 12 January 2022 meeting was Railfuture's response to the consultation by sub-national transport body Transport East to their draft Transport Strategy, which closed on 30 January 2022.

Convener: contact Howard Thomas as below, or at 24 South Primrose Hill, Chelmsford, CM1 2RG, or phone 01245 280503 before 21.00.


As part of the London & South East Branch of Railfuture, the Eastern Division has contributed to numerous consultations including Local Plans, Local Transport Plans, Local Development Frameworks, Multi-modal studies, Route Utilisation Strategies and Route Studies, DfT franchise and other proposals, and proposed timetable changes.

One of the Division's members plays the leading role in advocating a cross-Thames tram connection between Thurrock and Dartford / Gravesham, KenEx Thames Gateway Tramlink. See the article on page 2 of the January 2023 newsletter of Future Transport London. Also the presentation to L&SE branch's AGM in 2018.

A continuing focus for this Division is the Lea Valley, including the prospects for higher-frequency services between Newham and Enfield for the new developments around Meridian Water, and for new Chingford-Walthamstow-Stratford rail services to give Waltham Forest additional direct links with Newham.

Stay up-to-date with Railfuture and other events here and other key dates here.

Keep up-to-date with all London & South East rail development campaigning news in the regional branch's quarterly newsletter railse here and this branch's monthly e-newsletter inter-railse here.

On 16 June 2018 Division members joined members of East Anglia branch in Ipswich to hear from and discuss with Essex County Council's Alastair Southgate the emerging Rail Strategy for the county.

At our meeting on 8 November 2017 we had input from colleagues in neighbouring East Anglia branch and began consideration of Railfuture's contribution to Essex County Council's emerging Rail Strategy.

During 2013 we reviewed prospects for three new stations in our area: Lea Bridge (opened by then-Rail Minister Claire Perry in May 2016), Beam Park between Dagenham Dock and Rainham (for the Beam Park development), which had been due to open in May 2022, and Beaulieu Park north-east of Chelmsford, currently due to open in 2025/26.
Another major topic was Network Rail's draft Passenger Market Study for London and the South East, launched for consultation in April, published in October 2013. See LTPP - PMS for L&SE.

The Division hosted two joint branch meetings with neighbouring East Anglia branch representatives in Chelmsford.

In 2012 Eastern Division supported a successful joint bid to Railfuture's Fighting Fund by the regional branch and the then Railfuture-affiliated Chingford Line Users Association (CLUA). The grant was used to commission a report by JR Consulting, to be used in specialist lobbying of key rail industry and political decision-makers for improving access from Waltham Forest to the rail network, in three ways:
  • reopening Lea Bridge station (closed July 1985) by the end of Network Rail's Control Period 4 in March 2014;
  • doubling local Lea Valley line services in and out of Stratford to four trains per hour, and on seven days a week, during Control Period 5 2014-19;
  • improving direct links between Chingford/Walthamstow and Stratford, with its multi-modal interchange, by the end of Control Period 6 in 2024 eg reopening Hall Farm Curve.
Click on view or download to see the full 25-page JRC report Lea Valley Rail - better access to jobs and homes. 3.16MB

~ 29 January 2013: Good news from Waltham Forest Council on Lea Bridge station.
~ 26 March 2013: DfT funding for Lea Bridge station, from New Stations Fund. More info: DfT press release
~ 10 July 2015: Transport Minister sees start of works for Spring 2016 opening: Lea Bridge station starts.
~ 25 April 2016: confirmation of May station reopening: see Railfuture's press release.

Chingford Line Users Association
AGM and public meeting on 12 June 2012, held as usual at St. Mary's Welcome Centre, Church End, Walthamstow Village, London, E17 9RJ. Speakers were Greater Anglia's Jonathan Denby, and Jonathan Roberts who presented his Fighting Fund-supported report on Improving Waltham Forest's access to the rail network - view or download the Powerpoint presentation introducing Lea Valley Rail - putting Waltham Forest into the equation. 1.99MB.

This was followed on Monday 18 June 2012 by a well-attended evening meeting, in Waltham Forest Town Hall, of local businesses and a range of other organisations all keenly interested in supporting the reopening of Lea Bridge station within the next two years - view or download the Powerpoint presentation Lea Bridge back on the map.

The second of the Railfuture-funded 2012 report's objectives is 'on track' for completion for the December 2019 timetable.
See Lea Valley Rail Programme, with August 2017, November 2017, and January 2018 updates, plus new Meridian Water station to replace Angel Road in May 2019, and March 2018 update with new third track being installed.

Take Part

We campaign for sustainable growth in market share for rail transport. Therefore we support initiatives which will improve the attraction of rail and create a successful, financially secure rail industry: sufficient capacity, efficient customer service, simpler fares, improved connectivity, faster schedules, network enhancements and improved competitiveness with other modes of transport. If you share these ideals please contact us. We welcome new members, and people to share practical ideas and to help put plans into action.


Divisional Convener howard.thomas at railfuture.org.uk

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