Problems continue with new pier train

Southend’s long-awaited new pier train, the Sir David Amess, is still out of action months after being installed.

The train is part of a £3.2 million project to install two eco-friendly, state-of-the-art vehicles.

It was named after Southend West MP Sir David Amess following his death and began carrying passengers earlier in March after being unveiled by Prince Charles.

Problems with the train’s doors left people stranded on the train in April however, and the glitch has still not been rectified.

Speaking at a policy and resources committee meeting on Thursday Helen Boyd, Conservative councillor for Blenheim Park ward, branded the problems as disappointing for the city.

She said: “I’ve walked down the pier twice this summer and on each occasion the Sir David Amess train has not been working.

“The doors are off. People are obviously working on the floors. As I was with visitors on one occasion, it’s very disappointing that our new flagship train, which was supposed to be operational several months ago still doesn’t seem to be up and running.”

In response, Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, said: “There has been several glitches with the operation of the Sir David Amess train. I don’t know the details of all the technical side of it. There’s been a problem with the doors I know.

“Obviously the doors are an incredibly important part of the train so we can’t have anything going wrong while that’s in operation.”

Cllr Mulroney added: “I do know that the pier staff involved are in close contact with Severn Lamb, the manufacturers, to get the elements sorted out and get it back on again as quickly as possible. Unfortunately it’s just been one of those things. It’s a new machine, it’s bedding in and it’s like the washing machine that goes wrong the moment you put something in it.”

A council spokesperson said: “It will take a few weeks to restore the new pier train to it’s former working glory.

“The council is working with contractors to have the doors fixed as soon as possible whilst keeping public safety as a main priority. In the meantime, the public can find out updates through the pier’s dedicated site and social channels.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter