John Parish and Company

Gauge: 4ft (1.2m)

John Parish owned sandpits around Erith in North Kent with a railway from 1849 to 1957.

Coal was shipped to London from North East England from at least the seventeenth century. In 1805 John Parish began supplying sand ballast for the ships’ return trips. The loamy sand was very suitable for use in foundry work. Extensive sandpits were worked in the Erith area and moved by 4ft 0in gauge railway to wharves on the Thames. Traffic was horse drawn until 1864 when the company’s first steam locomotive was acquired. Associations with the North East dictated where Parish & Co. obtained its locomotives, and may also have determined the 4ft 0in gauge. The line crossed a street in Erith as well as the corporation tramway which followed the road.

The railway lasted until 1957 when it was replaced by a fleet of lorries. The lorries followed the old trackbed of the railway and never left Company property, even using the level crossings in Erith. Consequently they were never licensed.

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
1Gilkes, Wilson & Co. No.185 of 18640-4-0T
2R & W Hawthorn No.1864 of 18810-4-0ST
No. IVR & W Hawthorn No.2565 of 19030-4-0STWithdrawn 1957. Scrapped