Forest Gate station first opened in 1840, a year after the line was built, but was closed in 1843, before re-opening on 31 May 1846 following pressure from local residents. Its name is derived from a southern gate of Epping Forest which once stretched continuously down from Epping to the main Roman Road (now Romford Road) linking Camulodunum to Londinium. Fragments of the forest remain throughout north east London and the heathland of Wanstead Flats, which borders Forest Gate, is an example. The Forest Gate led into Epping Forest and was erected to prevent cattle straying from the Forest into the High Road. It was located close to the former Eagle & Child public house. It never was a toll gate and was demolished along with the keepers' cottage in 1881. The area remained rural until the 19th century. From the 18th century a number of wealthy city dwellers had large country houses in the area and many of them were Quakers, the best known of these were the families of Gurney, Fry and Lester. In 1890 a fire at the Forest Gate Industrial School in Forest Lane, occupied by children belonging to the Whitechapel Union, killed 26 boys between the ages of 7 and 12 years old.
During 2017 Crossrail will partially open and take over from the current TfL Rail "metro" service. New Class 345 trains will be introduced; these will be over 200 metres (220 yd) in length, necessitating the extension of Forest Gate's platforms 1 to 3, which are currently between 173 metres (189 yd) and 178 metres (195 yd) long. Other enhancements will include new lifts, signage, help points, customer information screens and CCTV. The full Crossrail route through to Reading and Heathrow Airport will begin in 2019. It is in Travelcard Zone 3. TfL Rail trains stop on platform 1 for Eastbound (Liverpool Street) and Westbound (Shenfield) stop on platform 2.The station has wi-fi, help points, cash machines, and no toilets.
Connections: Overground. London Buses routes 58, 308, and 330 serve the station.