Southend’s iconic pier trains will once again welcome visitors aboard as they reopen with a number of social distancing and cleaning measures in place to keep visitors safe and well.
The world’s longest pleasure pier was out of use since lockdown for the Coronavirus pandemic began back in March. Following further easing of lockdown announced by the Prime Minister on June 23, including reduction to 1 metre plus when social distancing, the council announced the official reopening date of the pier for Monday 6 July.
Due to social distancing when on-board the carriages, the trains were not operational from the reopening date. However, following the completion of a risk assessment, the council is delighted to announce the pier trains will be up and running from today Tuesday July 28.
The trains will be running at a reduced capacity, running every 30 minutes. The trains will work ‘shifts’ in order to carry out the extensive cleaning programme of the carriages. Face masks must be worn whilst using the pier trains, unless for a medical exemption.
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “When we reopened the pier back in June, we knew that many people would be disappointed that the pier trains would not be operational, even if it was the safe thing to do.
“I am delighted to say we can now welcome visitors back to the pier trains, which are a staple of any visit to our seaside. This summer season will be the last for these iconic trains, which have been in operation on the pier since 1986, with the introduction of the new pier trains in Spring 2021, which is even more reason to take a trip to the pier this summer.
“Whilst we continue to adapt to the new normal, it is really great news to have the pier trains back up and running and a further boost to the seafront at this time.”
There are a number of new measures in place on the pier, including a one-way walking system, sanitizing stations, signage and plastic screens. Takeaway services will be open everyday offering drinks, snacks, ice cream and fish and chips.