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Southend Pier Railway

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Overview

Southend-on-Sea in Essex has had a pier associated with it since 1830. The current structure in 1.38 miles long and completed in 1889 with subsequent pier head extensions in the 1920s. It was one of the earliest places in Britain to operate an electric tramway, namely a 3ft 6ins gauge line running 1.25 miles along the pier from 1890 until 1978, originally using trains of 4-wheel 'Toastrack' trams and replaced in 1949 by four trains of 7-car long 4-wheeled saloons.

Replaced in 1986 by a 3 feet gauge line operated by two 7-car 55hp diesel units built by Severn Lamb and a 3-axle battery railcar for winter use. Southend Pier is officially 'The Longest Pleasure Pier in the World' and has had three major fires - the most recent was October 2005 destroying the Pier Head (or South) railway station and surrounding shops, bars and restaurants. Part of the pier head walkway now doubles as the station platform.

Various items of the pier's history, including an original 1890 'Toastrack' car and 1949-built PCC-influenced cars are preserved in the Southend Pier Museum below the Shore (or North) Railway Station.

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Page Credits

By Dave Carson.









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