West Anglia Main Line

West Anglia Main Line

The West Anglia Main Line is one of the two main lines which run from London Liverpool Street, the other being the Great Eastern Main Line. It runs due north from London, through the towns of Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Harlow, Bishop's Stortford and Audley End (near Saffron Walden) station before reaching Cambridge, with two branches serving Hertford and Stansted Airport. The line runs along the border between Hertfordshire and Essex for much of its length.

The line is electrified at 25 kV AC, using overhead wires, and passenger services on the line mostly use Class 315 or Class 317 EMUs, although Class 170 DMUs are used for services north from Stansted Airport.


Passenger services on the line are provided by National Express East Anglia, who also operate the Stansted Express, and by CrossCountry (formerly Central Trains) from Stansted Airport north to Cambridge and beyond.

In London, the line also forms the Tottenham Hale branch of the Lea Valley Lines.

Some services run south from Cambridge to Stansted Airport, via Audley End, while other services run from the airport to Cambridge (not London), and points further north, bypassing Stansted Mountfitchet.


If Stansted Airport's expansion go-ahead then it is planned that the Main Line will see many changes. First Bishop's Stortford, Harlow Town and Tottenham Hale will see changes such as platform extensions to accommodate 12 car trains for the Stansted Express Service only or new platforms built just for the service. Bishop's Stortford station may even be re-built. Second, it is also planned that a lot of the line will be changed to 4 tracks from the current 2 to again increase capacity.

It is planned by December 2009 that ticket barriers will be put in place at Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford, Harlow Town and Tottenham Hale: some of the busiest stations on the line. This would therefore eliminate the need for ticket inspectors on the Stansted Express service and would mean that penalty fare evasion would be reduced from these stations.

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