The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR) direct line from Bow to Barking was constructed east to west through the middle of the Parish of East Ham in 1858. Prior to the building of the line trains took a longer route via Stratford and Forest Gate to the north. The new line initially also had stations at Bromley and Plaistow, with Upton Park added as the next station to the west of East Ham in 1877. District line, then known as the District Railway, service began in 1902. The District line was electrified in 1905 over a second pair of tracks, and the service was cut back from Upminster to East Ham; the station then served as the eastern terminus, where passengers transferred to steam trains, until 1908 when electrification was extended to Barking. In 1936 the Metropolitan line service was introduced. In 1988 the station, along with other stations beyond Aldgate East, was transferred to the new Hammersmith & City line.
The station has two platforms, one for each direction. Much of the original Victorian station architecture has been retained and some restoration work was carried out during 2005. The disused platforms of the Fenchurch Street to Southend services, withdrawn in 1962, are to the south of the current platforms. A disused bay platform on the northern side of the station, closed in 1958, connected to the Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway (now the Gospel Oak to Barking line) via a curve. It is in London fares zones 3 and 4. The station has wi-fi, payphones, toilets and boarding ramps.
Connections: London Buses routes 101, 104, 147, 238, 300, 325, 376 and 474 serve the station.