Historical places in Thurrock

Corringham light railway

Did you know that Corringham once had its own railway?

The Corringham Light Railway was on of the smallest public railways in the Country and also possibly one of the shortest at 3 miles.

It was also unique in the fact that it operated without the use of signals.

It was one of the few railways to remain independent during its entire life.

The story of the Corringham Light Railway can be traced back to 1895 when G.Kynoch Ltd of Birmingham saw a need to build a new factory the South. Kynoch's were a major manufacturer of ammunition.

In 1895 they purchased Borley Farm near Shell Haven Creek. The factory was opened in 1897. It was designed to house 600 employees on a new estate called Kynochtown. In addition to this new houses were constructed 3 Miles away in Stanford-Le-Hope and Corringham.

In 1898, Kynoch's decided that it was necessary to build a rail link with the Thames Haven Branch of the LT & SR and also to bring in workers who lived in Corringham. A light Railway order was application was made in November 1898, under the name of "The Corringham Light Railway". The CLR was separate from Kynoch's by law but was in actual fact owned and run by them.

Construction work started in 1900 and the first section was between the factory & Thames Haven Station was opened for goods traffic in January 1901. The final section was opened for passengers in June 1901. In the first years the traffic level was low but the First World changed this, but after the war the traffic level slumped. In January 1919 Kynoch's Factory closed down.

In 1921 the entire factory and railway line were taken over by Cory Brother's Ltd of Cardiff who were coal merchants but were venturing into the business of oil storage and so wanted to build an oil storage depot. By 1930 the number of passengers carried was down to 30 a day mainly due to the Manorway road across the marshes being upgraded for cars and buses. By this time only two carriages were left and Kynite was scrapped.

During World War Two, the Line played a very active part in the war effort moving large amounts of oil from the refinery to Thames Haven Port and just before the Invasion of Europe it was used to move large amounts of War materials, which were stored in the area. The passenger service was reinstated from 8th November 1945, but by this time many workers were using the buys service and traffic was mainly confined to Enthusiast specials.

In 1950, the Coryton Oil Refinery was sold to the Vacuum Oil Company (Later Mobil) but the line still stayed independent but with Mobil owning all the shares in the company. The line from Thames Haven to Coryton was upgraded to mainline standards, but in 1952 an application was made to close the line from Corringham to Coryton and so on 1st march 1952 the last train was run. The following table lists all of the Locomotives owned by the company.

Bibliography

  • Gotheridge, I. The Corringham Light Railway. Oakwood Press, 1985
  • Ormston, John M. Thurrock's Own Railways: The Light Industrial Railways of the Thurrock Area. J.M. Ormston, 1998
  • Price T.T, The Corringham Light Railway
  • Coryton Broadsheet July 1957. Mobil Oil Company
  • Scott, Winifred N. Coryton: A History of a Village. Mobil Oil Company, 1981
  • Kay, P. The Thames Haven Railway. Peter Kay, 1999