A £3MILLION fleet of electric pier trains should be ready for their first passengers in just a few weeks’ time.

The new trains are currently being tested, and after positive initial results councillors hope the vehicles will be carrying visitors by February at the latest.

They will be kitted out with USB points and state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, and replace the existing blue diesel trains which have been running on the pier since 1986.

Carole Mulroney, cabinet member responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, told the Echo she was confident there will be no delays or issues.

She said: “We want them ready as soon as possible. A lot of work has to go into testing them, and making sure they are safe and ready for the public.

“I am hoping they can be done in January, and by the February half-term if not, as that’s about six weeks away.

“There’s been lots of testing and it’s been going well - and I want to be on the first ride!”

The new trains were originally due to be in place over the summer but were delayed because of a fault with the paint.

The heritage green and cream livery is a nod to past pier trains which carried passengers along the landmark from 1949 to 1978.

Martin Terry, cabinet member responsible for pier and foreshore, said: “The new train on site will continue testing, and we will make an announcement about when it will enter public service once all the driver training and settling in period is complete. We expect this in the next few weeks, but are unable to put a firm date until all the checks have been completed.”

The development comes as a new restaurant on the pier has flung open its door to visitors.

The £336,000 Royal Pavilion eatery and bar offers views of the Thames Estuary, and councillors say it’s all ready for customers and diners.

It is open from Wednesday to Sunday throughout the winter, from 10.30am – 4.30pm, with the bar open from noon.