Grimsby & Immingham Electric Railway
Grimsby and Immingham Tramway plan
The Grimsby and Immingham Light Railway
Locale England
Dates of operation 1923 – 1961
Successor line Abandoned
Track gauge
Length 5 miles
Headquarters Grimsby

The Grimsby & Immingham Electric Railway was an electric tramway network linking the township of Grimsby and the then village of Immingham in Lincolnshire. It is probably best described by the American term "Inter-Urban" as it links the places in its title by a reserved way rather that through the streets.

History Edit

With silting problems occurring at Grimsby, a problem with that site since it was first used by the Monks of the local priory, the owners of the docks, the Great Central Railway company were forced to look elsewhere in order to maintain and strengthen their hold on seabourne traffic on the River Humber. The company were looking for a site which could be made accessible at all states of the tide to vessels of up to 6,000 gross registered tons (grt). Taking into account the fact that the deep water channel of the river comes nearest the south bank at Immingham this was chosen as the site for the new deep water dock and estate. Immingham village, and the land purchased for this new venture, were rather inaccessible by road, and the G.C.R. sent a delegation to Bristol and Cardiff, two cities where their docks were situated some distance from the centre, the homes of the workforce. It seemed essential that direct communications between the town centre at Grimsby and the new dock estate at Immingham would have to be built.

The docks were opened in 1912 and with them the new electric railway. At the grouping in 1923 the line became part of the London and North Eastern Railway and was nationalised in 1948. Closure finally came in Summer 1961, when the service was closed and all 19 cars replaced by buses.

The GCR reached agreement for the purchase of the land required and presented two Bills in Parliament of which the second was accepted as the Humber Commercial Railway and Dock Act 1904. An application for a Light Railway Order was drawn by the GCR's solicitor for a link between the dock estate and Grimsby. The railway portions were built first as to carry the goods necessary for the construction of the street tramway. Originally it was planned to use electric traction between Corporation Bridge, Grimsby and the Pyewipe Depot, where a change would be made to steam powered trains. The plans were amended in 1909 and electric traction was to be used throughout.

The networkEdit

The main line ran from Immingham (Town) to Grimsby (Corporation Bridge)and to this was added a short line from Immingham Town to Immingham Dock (not to be confused with the railway station of the same name by the Western Jetty), to serve the workers who lived there and to take them and their families to Grimsby. The Immingham Dock - Town line was double track set on its own reserved way but becoming a street tramway near the Green Lane road junction, and then over a bridge, known locally as Tram Hill, to Immingham Town at the bottom of the bridge.  The tramway continued from here to Queens Road, but this section was almost never used.  There had at one time, been an intention to continue the tramway into the centre of the village along King's Road, but that never materialised.  Trams reversed towards Grimsby and the line and once on their reserved way maintained a south-eastward course across the marshes on a near straight five-mile stretch to Pyewipe depot. Along this section were constructed 7 passing points, three closing in 1917. They were not known by name but titled, for example, "No.4 Passing Point" etc.

At the depot, the line veered to the right to become a street tramway, using Gilbey Road and finally Corporation Road. This was single track with three passing point. A waiting room and parcels office were built next to Corporation Bridge as the Grimsby terminus.

An extension over Corporation Bridge project was not authorised but never built, as work on the reconstruction of Corporation Bridge took too long, finishing only in 1928. The Corporation Road and Gilbey Road section was not cut back in 1956.


The electric power was supplied in 6000 V AC by two substations. The first was built three miles from Immingham by Siemens Brothers whose contract included the construction of the overhead line and the installation of 184 Baltic Redwood fir poles which would run alongside the line. Two Westinghouse 250 kW rotary converters produced 500 V DC for the trams. Traction feeders were installed every half mile. The substation itself was a redbrick construction, built by Dennis Gill & Sons of Doncaster for £507.

The second substation, continuously manned, was also built by Dennis Gill, for £707, next to the car sheds at Pyewipe. It contained three 250 kW Westinghouse rotary converters. One converter was used for lighting, one for traction and the third as a standby.

Pyewipe Car ShedsEdit

The curiously named sheds, taking their name from the local marshes, the habitat of the Peewit (Curlew) and known after its call, near the Grimsby Borough boundary serviced all the trams. Pyewipe was built by H. Marrows for £1464. The sheds did not house the cars, which spent all their life out doors, only entering the workshop if repairs were needed. The workshop had the capacity to hold three trams on two tracks and the depot the rest of the fleet. It also housed a machine shop and store.

Rolling stockEdit

The railway used four types of tram:

Grimsby and Immingham 14

Grimsby and Immingham 14 preserved at the National Tramway Museum

  • 12 long bogie single-deck trams designed by the Great Central railway and constructed by Dick, Kerr and Company of Preston. They were 54 feet in length which made them the longest non-articulated trams operating in the country.
  • 4 short trams, numbered 5 to 8, purchased in preparation for operations in the streets of Grimsby. These vehicles were scrapped in the early 1930s.
  • 3 tramcars purchased from Newcastle Corporation arrived on the line in 1948 but were scrapped in 1957
Gateshead 5

Gateshead 5 was not one of 18 trams sold to Grimsby upon the closure of that system. It is preserved at the National Tramway Museum

  • 18 bogie single-deck trams, built in the 1920's, were purchased from Gateshead and Disctrict Tramways in 1951 although only 17 went into service, one being damaged during delivery. These were painted in British Railways electric locomotive green, a bright shade of the colour, by all accounts. One of this class is preserved at the National Tramway Museum in Crich.


"Great Central Inter-Urban" by T. Feather. "Forward", the journal of the Great Central Railway Society.

Historic town tramway systems in the United Kingdom (v/t)


Alford and Sutton - Barnsley and District - Birmingham Corporation - Blackpool - Brill - Bristol - Chesterfield - City of Birmingham - Dearne District - Derby - Doncaster - Grimsby & Immingham - Grimsby District - Heaton Park - Hull - Ilkeston - Liverpool - London County Council - London United - Maidstone Corporation - Mansfield & District - Matlock - Mexborough & Swinton - Nottingham Corporation - Nottingham & District - Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - Rotherham - Scarborough funiculars - Sheffield - Southampton - Volks Electric - Warrington - Wisbech and Upwell - Wolverton and Stony Stratford


Great Orme - Swansea and Mumbles Railway - Pwllheli and Llanbedrog


Glasgow - Scottish Tramway and Transport Society

Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway Tramway

Isle of Man

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Douglas Southern Electric Tramway - Manx Electric Railway - Snaefell Mountain Railway - Upper Douglas Cable Tramway


Maley & Taunton

Tramways in South Yorkshire and Humberside
(Closed systems)

Barnsley and District | Dearne District | Doncaster | Grimsby | Grimsby & Immingham
Hull | Mexborough & Swinton | Rotherham | Sheffield

Tram transport in the UK edit
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