SOUTHEND’S new state-of-the-art electric pier trains have ground to a halt after breaking down again, leaving customers facing long queues to access the pier.

Southend Pier was forced to run an “extremely reduced train service” due to “technical problems,” throughout Tuesday, bosses said.

The new electric train – named after murdered Southend West MP Sir David Amess – had once again broken down.

The second new train named after pier stalwart William Bradley has not yet been launched into service.


That left a diesel train to run a “limited passenger service” with pre-booked customers and “the less mobile” prioritised.

Echo: Problems - The Sir David Amess and William Bradley trainsProblems - The Sir David Amess and William Bradley trains

Southend resident Tom Martin, was “disappointed” after his family day trip with his two children, aged 12 and nine, and his 71-year-old mother to see the new trains was ruined.

“It was such a let-down to not be able to get on. The kids were absolutely devastated,” the 40-year-old said.

“Almost immediately after they are launched, they are broken already. How typical of Southend can you get?”

Echo: Training - Drivers learn to use the new trains. Pic: Simon MurdochTraining - Drivers learn to use the new trains. Pic: Simon Murdoch

Photo by Simon Murdoch

Mr Martin says this is not the first time he has tried, and failed, to ride the new trains.

In June, he made the trip to the pier but was also turned away as the Sir David Amess was broken down.

The eco-friendly trains, which cost £3.2 million to purchase and install, have been blighted with issues since they first came into service in April.

That very same month a glitch with the doors saw passengers trapped inside the Sir David Amess as crews worked to pry them free.

And the issue persisted, with the train remaining out of operation until mid-July.

Echo: In honour of Sir David - One train was named after the murdered Southend West MPIn honour of Sir David - One train was named after the murdered Southend West MP (Image: Image: Southend Council)

Councillor Tony Cox says the problems “epitomise Southend at the moment”.

“These trains are fast looking like they could become a massive waste of money – delivered in a haphazard way and falling apart on arrival.

“It makes us a laughingstock. This was supposed to form a large part of our celebration of city status, but to live up to that status, we need to deliver.”

He added: “This is highly embarrassing. How on earth did we get to the point where good money has been spent, only to create a financial black hole that has to be fixed ever four weeks.”

Councillor Carole Mulroney, responsible for environment, culture and tourism, said: “It’s been a long time coming and everyone at Southend-on-Sea City Council is just as eager as the public to see the new trains, Sir David Amess and William Bradley, in service but our passengers must be safe. Our officers are working hard with the manufacturers to make sure all issues are identified and fixed, with more on-site tests planned over the next few weeks, so both trains can run safely and reliably in the future.

“The significant investment in the new trains demonstrates the council’s commitment to the future of the pier and its ongoing cultural legacy in our City. The improvements will also help to support the growing number of visiManage site tors, with a record-breaking 260,000 people visiting the world’s longest pleasure pier this summer alone.

“Since 10 August the previous diesel train has been running to take visitors to the end of the pier and runs every half hour with timetables on the Southend Pier website. Train updates, café closures and more information about the pier is available on the website or the pier’s social media pages.”