diamond geezer

 Friday, May 31, 2019

Angel Road

Yes. I remember Angel Road—
The name, because one sunny day
In heat the snail-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late May.

The wires fizzed. Someone cleared their throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Angel Road—only the name

And concrete, breakers yard and scrawl,
And spike-topped fence, and shelter dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the North Circular viaduct in the sky.

And for that minute a silver claw smashed
Close by, and round it scrap metal,
Farther and farther, all the IKEAs
Of Enfield and Tottenham Hale.

Study notes

Angel Road is a station on the Lea Valley Line between Northumberland Park and Ponders End. It closes on 31st May 2019.

The station opened as Edmonton in 1840, became Water Lane in 1849 and was renamed Angel Road in 1864. It used to open onto Angel Road, a quiet lane running down to the River Lea which was later adopted as the route of the North Circular. In 1994, after the road was upgraded to accommodate a new intersection with Meridian Way, the old entrance was removed and a new entrance opened on Conduit Lane, one concrete flyover to the north. Passenger access now required descending several steps, ducking beneath the main road and walking along a lengthy alleyway between the trackside and a scrap metal yard. Few other London stations can match it for entirely unwelcoming ambience.

Angel Road is served by a handful of trains during the morning and evening peaks only, with no trains between 10am and 4pm or after 8pm or at weekends. Perhaps unsurprisingly it was London's least used station for the years 2015/16 and 2016/17, the second least used for 2017/18, and is a dead cert to be the least used station for 2019/20 having only been open for two months during that period. Perhaps surprisingly Angel Road is being replaced by a brand spanking new station on almost the same site, which is expected to have 100 times as many passengers.

Meridian Water, a proper station with actual staff and step-free access, opens on Monday 3rd June 2019. It's been constructed over the last couple of years a short distance to the south of Angel Road, indeed the ends of their platforms almost touch beneath the A406. Meridian Water is much more conveniently located for the IKEA superstore across the road, but more importantly will sit at the heart of a massive housing development the London borough of Enfield has been itching to build once there was a decent transport connection, and now there is.

Over the summer Meridian Water will continue to be served at peak times only, but in September a brand new half-hourly rail service will start operating between here and Stratford. It's long been known as the STAR service - a name which made more sense when the northern endpoint was Angel Road rather than Meridian Water - and will run seven days a week. An extra track has been laid alongside the existing railway, so as not to get in the way of more important Stansted Express services.

Once Meridian Water is open, Angel Road's ungated, unstaffed, unobserved, unloved platforms will be permanently sealed off. So if you ever wanted to visit Angel Road's circle of hell, do it today.

My Angel Road gallery
There are 24 photos altogether [slideshow]

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