A NOW disused railway carriage which once carried visitors up and down Southend’s iconic pier has been brought back into use.

The small unit has been placed at the pier head and will be first used this weekend as a shelter for the Santa on the Pier event.

The carriage used to form part of the diesel run train called 'Sir John Betjeman' which had been in operation since 1986.

New electric trains are set to be rolled out on the pier as bosses look to make environmentally friendly changes to the attraction.

It is unclear when the trains will be officially in use, with staff set to be trained to use the new models on-site.

Speaking about the trains back in September, Carole Mulroney, councillor for tourism, said: “Once fully up and running, it will be a fantastic new attraction to our wonderful iconic landmark and I am sure they will attract more people, which will support businesses and the local economy.

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“The present trains continue to run and for those who enjoy the journey and any railway enthusiasts, the opportunity is there to ride the existing diesel trains, which have been on our pier for 35 years.”

The new trains include additional capacity, USB charging points, and have state-of-the-art audio visual equipment.

The Santa on the Pier event is running each weekend up to Christmas.

It will also run daily during the school holidays, with all but one day currently sold out.