Replacement for Angel Road Station will also be catalyst for thousands of new homes in Edmonton, reports James Cracknell
Meridian Water Station has been officially opened by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.
The new £46million transport hub in Edmonton is hoped to become a catalyst for the construction of 10,000 homes at one of London’s biggest regeneration sites, with a developer recently being appointed to build the first 725 homes. It replaces nearby Angel Road Station, just 100 metres up the track, boosting accessibility for passengers with stairs and lifts to provide step-free access. An enclosed concourse features a “bespoke golden panel design”.
Grayling, who confirmed at the opening event that he was one of the few prominent Conservative politicians not bidding to become prime minister, described the station as “a vital rail link” that would be “a flagship for the area, unlocking homes and jobs”.
Representatives from Network Rail, Enfield Council and rail firm Greater Anglia also joined the official opening, in what was hailed as a “team effort”. For now Meridian Water Station will only be served by trains during the morning and evening rush hours, with nothing at weekends, but in September this service will be boosted when a newly-built third track to Stratford is brought into use and will mean at least two trains per hour can run throughout the day, with up to four at peak times.
Meridian Water is part of a £170m package of upgrades by Network Rail, dubbed the ‘Lee Valley Rail Programme’, which has been funded jointly by the Greater London Authority, Transport for London and other local authorities, including Enfield Council.
Further planned upgrades to the West Anglia Main Line through Enfield, which could see between six and eight trains per hour serving Meridian Water, are dependent on securing money from the Department of Transport. Asked whether the government would pledge to fund this capacity boost, Grayling told the Dispatch: “It is in the pipeline, it needs to be done.
“It is a difficult project because there is a huge amount of work to do and there are all kinds of obstacles to four-tracking through Enfield, but it is something on our radar and on Network Rail’s radar.”
In addition, Crossrail 2 might one day pass through Meridian Water Station, but that whole project is now in doubt following the significant delays and cost overruns with Crossrail 1, also known as the Elizabeth Line, which has yet to open.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, was also at the station’s opening. She said: “It is fantastic to be here for the opening of this station. I hope it is a station the local community will be proud of, when these homes eventually materialise here.”
Council leader Nesil Caliskan, talking to the Dispatch, said the new station was about more than just travel. She said: “I don’t believe in building homes in the middle of nowhere. The potential for Meridian Water is only going to be realised through new rail infrastructure.”
While Angel Road, with 33,000 annual passenger journeys, was the second-quietest station in London, Meridian Water is expected to be used four million times per year once the regeneration of the area is complete.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, added: “The delivery of the Lee Valley Rail Programme is the culmination of years of hard work. Reducing congestion at busy stations and building a brand new one for the people of Enfield will transform journeys.”