THE iconic Southend Pier train is back up and running for testing and monitoring from today.

The train has been out of action for over 12 weeks whilst pile cap repairs took place.

John Lamb, leader of the council, is thrilled it is back up and running. 

He said: “I am delighted that following advice from our structural engineers, we are able to run test services on the pier train from 10.30am this morning.

“We will run these test services without passengers and initially at reduced speeds.

"The effects of the train on the structure will be monitored, but if there is no adverse reaction, we hope that a passenger service could be phased back in at reduced speeds by the end of the week.

“It was very disappointing to have to take the Pier train out of use, particularly during the summer season, but of course safety had to come first.

“However, we still welcomed over 50,000 visitors to the Pier during August and much of that was down to the hard work of our staff, who ensured that events, visiting ships and weddings have been able to go ahead with as little disruption as possible.

"We have also done what we can to put alternative arrangements in place to get people with severe mobility issues from one end to the other."