#137: Meridian Water 21/03/2022

Other than rail enthusiasts and local commuters, it’s unlikely you will have heard of, let alone know, where Meridian Water is. The station opened on the 3rd of June 2019 without fanfare. It’s in an industrial part of North London between Edmonton and Tottenham and to the west of the Lea Valley.

What’s there? All the usual out of town superstores and an industrial area awash with the motor repair trade.

So why open a new station? Here comes the history bit.

Angel Road Station

This station was located between Angel Road on the North Circular and Conduit lane and opened in 1840 for the Northern and Eastern Railway serving passengers into Hertfordshire from London. Its name changed many times. Originally named Edmonton, then Water Lane (Junction) and Angel Road in 1864.

Fast forward to 2007, Enfield Council began to formulate regeneration plans for the area to the south of Angel Road. The site had previously been the home of the Tottenham & District Gas Company on the west side of the railway and The Gothic Works (later part of Thorn Electrical Industries) on the east side. Both companies were crucial for industrialisation in their time, but their time has since ended, and the ground abandoned.

By 2015 a total transformation was envisaged, with over 200 acres of homes, parks and commercial premises comprising a new neighbourhood called Meridian Water. Planning for a new station to replace Angel Road on the Lee Valley line was included in the new development.

Meridian Water Station

Construction began in November 2017, and the station opened on the 3rd of June 2019 with an expectation that passenger numbers would increase from around 30,000 annually to 4 million. It’s a grand looking station, but it is also somewhat isolated and surrounded by building works in its current state. 

The main road from Ponders End to Tottenham Hale is to the east, serving light and heavy commercial traffic. However, the traffic flow slows by the station due to roadworks, and albeit temporary, it’s hard to judge how temporary. There’s also a mega Tesco superstore and IKEA in the immediate vicinity.

The building site mentioned above will become Meridian One to the west of the station. This is the first phase of the regeneration development advertised as being ready by Summer 2022 – time will tell.

Is this what new social housing is going to look like? I hope not! It is, in fact, the construction offices for the joint venture between Vistry Partnerships and Enfield Council just on the other side of the station.

The station itself is rather stylish, but I imagine few people stop to admire the aesthetic qualities of the design. The architectural theme is multi-tonal black brickwork with gold/yellow splashes. Here are a couple of examples of the lift shaft and stairwell to highlight this.

The station has three platforms numbered 2 to 4. Platform 1 is part of the station’s expansion plans. Because the station shares the rail with fast services to Cambridge, there can only be two services per hour. However, plans to increase service frequency are advanced, resulting in four trains per hour by 2024 and eight trains per hour later.

The current infrequency of services operated by Greater Anglia was a talking point with a driver I chatted with. He also shared his frustration that the station is built on a curve, which means more security cameras are needed to ensure the driver’s entire view of the station is uninterrupted.

Industrial Landscape

I stretch my legs a little heading north under the North Circular and beyond to Conduit Lane. The lane serves as a loop for traffic on the north/south Meridian Way to join/exit the North Circular, and it’s clear from this shot that White Van Man (or should that be ‘person’?) is still a thing in North London.

The walk is not for casual wanderers, but pavements allow safe passage, and inevitably, an unguarded bridge support under the North Circular becomes the canvas for an imaginative graffiti artist. I think the image is of Popeye and ‘Teas’. It’s hard to make out the artist’s tag, as I like to acknowledge such work when I see it. There’s a ‘Ranz’ in the top right-hand corner, but the style is quite different to this one on Instagram.

On the theme of colours, the sidewall of the Crispin House Industrial Centre building on Angel Road is attractive. The centre is a haven for all things auto-related. If only one half of this painted wall was yellow!

I do a u-turn heading south, and I’m able to keep alongside this lorry carrying industrial-sized water pipes along Angel road. The opportunity was too good to miss to capture the construction cranes in the background busy with their Meridian-One creation.

A Country Walk

I continue south and turn east past IKEA towards a country haven of open shrubland between Pymmes Brook and the Lea Navigation. I’ve encountered Pymmes Brook before whilst at Cockfosters, but this time it’s at its journey’s end as it flows into the River Lea at Tottenham Hale.

Although you can still hear the rumble of traffic in the distance, it doesn’t disguise the birdsong, the sound of the many dog walkers as they enjoy a peaceful moment, or even a couple enjoying a musical moment along the water’s edge. It’s the week before the clocks change, so the late afternoon sun is starting to set, but not before I can use it to highlight the wild teasel that covers the ground everywhere.

I end my journey at Stonebridge Lock, lock No.16 on the Lee Navigation. But, alas, the waterside cafe is closed, so I walk across Bridge No. 26 on the Navigation’s 27.5 mile long waterway from Waltham Abbey to Limehouse and admire the view.

Picture of the Day – Spaceship Spurs

As the crow flies, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is just 1.25 km to the southwest of the station. I doubt it will still be as visible as the nearby construction gathers apace in a few years. But at first glimpse, and if you like science fiction films, it could well look like one of those mega spaceships from Star Wars or other intergalactic stories.

Look closely, though, and you can see the silhouettes of those people taking part in The Dare Skywalk next to the Gold Cockrell sculpture on the roofline. The moment takes me back almost three years to the day when I walked around the stadium on the eve of its opening after a long hot sunny day walking from Chingford.

  • Location: Westside exit of Meridian Water station looking southwest
  • Date/Time: Monday 21st March 2022, 3.01 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 106mm; Film Speed – ISO100

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