|Stephen Metcalfe with CLR project Manager, Lisa Sargent|
Last weekend Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, braced the freezing temperatures to walk the line in support of the Corringham Light Railway Project.
The Corringham Light Railway was the first independent run railway line within 25 miles of London running from 1901 to 1952. The project aims to transform the old railway line into a free heritage walk and cycle track allowing walkers and cyclists alike to make the most of the historic pathway and to preserve an important part of local history.
Mr Metcalfe, who walked the entirety of the line, commented: “Despite the bracing temperatures, I thoroughly enjoyed walking the line of the Corringham Light railway! It is a great project and I think it would be extremely beneficial for the area to have a path that walkers and cyclists can enjoy.”
Mr Metcalfe was joined by around 20 other walkers who also hope that Lottery funding will enable them to use the track bed as a nature and local history area for children.
The process, however, may not be a straightforward one. The land officially forms part of the land owned by the Coryton Oil Refinery and therefore falls under PricewaterhouseCoopers administration package meaning the future ownership of the land is uncertain.
Mr Metcalfe added: “The Corringham Light Railway has potential to be a great feature of Thurrock and if the practical problem of land ownership under PwC can be overcome, I see no reason why the old track bed cannot have a future as part of our industrial heritage.”
“I will be working with my local Council colleagues to discuss potential solutions and to see whether there is any scope within the Local Development Framework to assist the project managers in achieving their objectives. I hope that this will result in a new walkway that local people can cherish and enjoy for years to come.”