THE absence of Southend’s new electric pier trains has been labelled an “embarrassment” for the city as the wait to see them return goes on.

The only working electric train, named after late MP Sir David Amess, broke down on August 9 and remains out of action some three weeks later.

Council bosses say tests are still being carried out to ensure it is ready to be brought back.

An old diesel train has been brought back to run a reduced service in the absence of the Sir David Amess.

Tests are also still being conducted on another new electric train, dedicated to pier stalwart William Bradley, which has yet to be unveiled to the public.

The lack of clarity on when the new trains will be used by the public again has caused anger among residents and councillors, who insist the delay is “not good enough”.

Adam Ball, 47 and of Shakespeare Drive, Westcliff, said: “I think it’s quite disappointing and I think for us to get to the end of the summer season and have both not working is just crazy.

“The trains should be in use for this time of year and I feel it’s just not good enough.”

The eco-friendly trains, which cost £3.2million, have been blighted with issues since they first came into service in April, with the Sir David Amess suffering technical issues with its doors back in April.

Tony Cox, leader of the Southend Conservatives said: “Things like this are embarrassing for the city and make it a laughing stock.

“There will be lots of visitors who come just for the trains and they can’t use them. The council said it wanted to get them right and now we’ve got this shambles.”

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, said: “We’re all eager to see the new trains in service, but our passengers must be safe.

“We are still running onsite tests, so both trains can run safely and reliably in the future.

“The diesel train has been running to take visitors to the end of the pier I was on it yesterday with all of my family and it was busy, and everyone was enjoying the trip.”