SOUTHEND new electric pier train is set to return to service tomorrow in a move the council hopes will put the £3.5 million investment’s botched launch in the past.

The Sir David Amess pier train will be open to the public on Thursday, September 22.

The train was pulled out of service in April over issues with the doors.


The train, one of a pair of new electric trains purchased as part of a £3.5 million investment into the pier, replaced the old blue diesel trains which had been in operation since 1986.

One existing diesel train will run alongside the Sir David Amess train until the William Bradley (the second electric train) clears its final testing phases – it is expected to be in service “in the next couple of weeks”.

Councillor Martin Terry, responsible for community safety, said: “The team have been working tirelessly to deliver this project and overcome every obstacle. With technology as advanced and unique as this, it has been important for the council to adopt a safety-first approach and get this right.

“It has certainly taken longer than we hoped, and we are frustrated that we have not been able to get them up and running this Summer, but now we can look forward to riding the new trains and I’m sure many people will welcome and be able enjoy them for many years to come.”

The council says the repairs have come at “no additional cost” with all works covered by its existing contracting with manufacturers Severn Lamb.

Delays to repairs have been caused by the length and age of the pier, as well as the sale and damp caused to the tracks by the sea, according to the council.

These conditions meant tests could only be carried out along the pier, to ensure the technology was viable for the environment, further lengthening the process as trains are typically tested in specialist testing sites.

Additionally, the council says Brexit and Covid-19 both caused delays to ordering tailor-made parts for the trains which were designed bespoke for Southend Pier.

The council says Severn Lamb has identified and addressed all major concerns on both trains.