Thurrock historical places

Corringham Light Railway

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

It was unique in the fact that it operated without the use of signals. It was also 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 of England. 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 Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope.

In 1898, Kynoch's decided that it was necessary to build a rail link with the Thames Haven Branch of the London, Tilbury and Southend railway (LT and 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 Corringham Light Railway was separate from Kynoch's by law but was in actual fact owned and run by them.

Construction work started in 1900. The first section, between the factory and Thames Haven Station, was opened for goods traffic in January 1901. The final section was opened for passengers in June 1901.

In its first years, the traffic level was low but the First World War changed this. After the war, the level of traffic slumped again and in January 1919 Kynoch's factory closed down.

In 1921, the entire factory and railway line were taken over by Cory Brothers Ltd of Cardiff, who were coal merchants but were venturing into the business of oil storage 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 2 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. 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 8 November 1945, but by this time many workers were using the bus service so traffic was mainly confined to enthusiast specials.

In 1950, the Coryton Oil Refinery was sold to the Vacuum Oil Company (later Mobil). The line remained independent but with Mobil owning all the shares in the company.

Between Thames Haven and Coryton the line was upgraded to mainline standards, but in 1952 an application was made to close the line from Corringham to Coryton. The last train was run on 1 March 1952.


  • 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