The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway direct line from Bow to Barking was constructed east to west through the middle of the Parish of West Ham in 1858. Before this, trains took a longer route via Stratford and Forest Gate to the north. The new line opened with stations initially at Bromley, Plaistow and East Ham. Upton Park was added as a new station to the east in 1877 and West Ham was added to the west in 1901. With the completion of the Whitechapel and Bow Railway in 1902 the line was doubled to four tracks and through services of the Metropolitan District Railway (commonly known as the District Railway) were able to operate to Upminster. The District Railway converted to electric trains in 1905 and services were cut back to East Ham. The District Railway was incorporated into London Transport in 1933, and became known as the District line.
The name "Plaistow" is believed to come from Sir Hugh de Plaitz (spelling varies) who, in 1065, married Philippa de Montfitchet, of the Mountfitchet Castle family, who owned the district. It is she who is reputed to have named it the Manor of Plaiz. A stow was a place of assembly (occasionally a holy place), but also described as a town or village, so it was the village of Plaiz, or assembly place within the Manor, "Plaiz-stow". The station has three platforms in use, two through platforms and a third bay platform enabling eastbound trains to terminate and reverse back to central London. Two other platforms used to serve the LTSR line but are now closed and derelict; c2c trains pass through non-stop. The station booking hall, built in 1905, is the subject of a local listing. The station is on the District line and the Hammersmith & City line, and in London fare zone 3. The station has wi-fi and payphones but no toilets.
Connections: District Line. London Buses routes 69, 241, 262 and 473 serve the station.