Pier Trains
The First Railway The first Pier railway was on the wooden pier, opening around 1846. These were hand propelled carts running on a single wooden track, on windy days, a cart with a sail would be used, this railway was used until 1873. Horse Drawn Railway When the local board took over took over the wooden pier they replaced the hand propelled carts and the timber rails to iron, this new train was little more than three box like wagons and a flat carriage at the rear, two horses hauled the train the length of the pier. The service started in 1873, by the 1880s the track had become unsafe, the horses kept putting their hooves through holes/gaps in the decking and the service stopped. The Toast Racks The Toast Racks came along when new Iron Pier was built, this at first was constructed alongside the closed wooden pier. The plan for the new pier included the worlds first electric railway, work was overseen by Mr. C. R. Norton, the former Electrical Engineer of the pier, electrification was carried out by Colonel R. E. B. Crompton. By 1889 ¾ mile of track had been laid on the new pier with a single motor car running on it. This had a 13 hp motor powered from a 200v DC generator sited on the pier. The Generator was compound wound driven by a belt connected to a Davey & Paxman 25 hp steam engine, using a locomotive style boiler. The electric car was fitted with a carbon brush which picked up power from a centre rail mounted on petticoat insulators, the return circuit was through the running rails. By 1890 the first stage of the then mile track was complete with two new trailer cars in operation. Passengers numbers were increasing, so alterations to the track were made and a passing loop was installed in 1893, also a new train of three coaches were added to the fleet. These were built by Falcon works in Loughborough. From 1893 through to 1899 passenger numbers increased again, to such a level that a further two trains were purchased, a second generator was installed as well further alterations to the track, and the passing loop was extended. In 1902 Southend Council built a dedicated generating station in London Road, making the pier-based station redundant, which later was demolished. The new power station was capable of producing 500v DC, this saw the trains re-fitted with new engines rated at 18 hp, with this increased power, four more coaches were added to the fleet, this enabled four trains of up to four coaches. In 1909 four more coaches were added to the fleet, this saw each of the four trains in operation travelling with five coaches. However, the extra weight of cars & passengers proved that the motor cars were underpowered and had to be up graded again, this time twin BTH 27 hp motors were fitted. During 1910 the ageing conductor rail was replaced with a 45lb/yard steel rail, much like the running rails, this also saw the pick ups being replaced with cast iron ones. 1914 saw a further eight cars added allowing four seven car trains. In 1919 a survey of the track found that it was in a poor condition so a track renewal program was launched, this saw the now 20 year old lines replaced by steel. In 1923 a short-lived experiment saw magnetic breaks fitted to one train, with poor results the test was abandoned in 1924. During the year the trains running wheels were all replaced with Bessemer Steel Tyres. During 1928 the midway passing loop was extended again this time by 150 yards, two further loops were added at both the North station (Shore) and the South station (Head). The following year in 1929 saw the loops all joined forming a double track the length of the pier. To keep the trains in running order a workshop was constructed on the west side of the shore station. Wartime saw the pier trains pushed into service carrying over 300,000 troops, at the end of hostilities the holiday makers returned, by 1949 the now 60 year old Toast Rack trains were beginning to become more difficult to maintain, a decision was made to replace the entire rolling stock with new trains. During their lifetime the toast racks had clocked up some three million miles, carrying some sixty five million passengers. Toast Rack Specifications Dimensions: Length: 22ft 9in to 24ft (different types of car having varying lengths). Height: 6ft 11in to 7ft 3in (different types of car having varying height). Width: 6ft 5in. Wheelbase: 6ft 9in to 11ft 6in (different types of car having varying lengths). Seats: 32, 36, 40 (various seating in differing cars). Motors: General Electric GE60-4t 2 x 27hp. Controllers: General Electric GE K10.

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Severn-Lamb Trains Trains were to returned to the pier in 1986 when two Severn-Lamb trains were installed, the trains numbered A & B are named Sir John Betjeman & Sir William Heygate, these operate on a 3’ gauge track laid on conventional cross sleepers, a single track with passing loop based on the 1893 layout is used with atomised signalling. The trains are operated as a CT-T-T-T-T-T-PC set. The two trains were originally presented in a "inferno red" but after the pier head fire of 2005 both trains were re-painted blue. Severn Lamb Trains Specifications Power Cars (PC): Length: 20ft 9in. Weight: 4 tons. Seats: 0 (except for driver). Engine: Deutz 4 cylinder 55 hp diesel, two Linde hydraulic transmission chain & sprocket to each axle. Max Speed: 18 mph. Trailer (T): Length: 20ft. Weight: 2 tons. Capacity: 24 seated 10 standing. Control Trailer (CT): Length: 20ft 9in. Weight: 2 tons. Capacity: 12 seated plus clear area for wheel chairs. All Cars: Width: 5ft 9in, Height: 7ft 6in.
Castleline Train A low peak winter operating train is available for use on the railway. This is a single unit battery car built by Castleline of Nottingham. It is a three axle double ended car that has doors in the centre of the body. The train is marked as “1835” which represents the date that the pier first appeared on Admiralty charts. Castleline Train Specifications Not currently available
Pier Trains in Preservation So just what remains of the fleet. The Toast Racks There were originally 28 "toast rack" pier trains operated on the pier, today just three are known to be preserved, however, who knows what might pop up in the years to come. The Survivors No 6: The Southend Pier Museum hold one original Toast rack train from the 1889 it was recovered in poor condition & has been restored to original stock condition. No 8: Was donated to the Southend Pier Museum by the Brighton based Volks Railway in 2001, but due to lack of space within the museum it was exhibited on the deck of the pier, it was later offered to The Standford Mill Museum but due to lack of space it was not taken up and moved into store. No 9: In storage with the Volks Railway Brighton. 1949 Rolling Stock There were originally 28 cars built to replace the Toast Racks, half the fleet were retired and scrapped, with the remaining 14 continuing in service until the closure of the railway, most of these went to a scrap yard in Shoebury, a few were saved and were preserved, three ended up going to Wales these being nos 2, 7 & 21. Over the years car 21 was returned to Southend, whilst it is rumoured car 7 returned to Southend in 2001 and is currently in store. Car 2 was scrapped in Wales. The Survivors Car 7: Returned to Southend 2001 stored in secure location not available to public inspection. Car 8: Mangapps Railway Museum in Essex. Car 11: The Southend Pier Museum. Car 21: The Lynn Tate Gallery, Leigh-on-Sea, (Now Closed). It's not Just Trains...! In 1972 Mitchell Ropeways propose to replace the train with the Swiss designed Aerobus suspended monorail. The proposal would have seen pylons placed alongside the pier linked by a steel cable, two 100 seater “Aerobuses” would have been hung from the cable like a cable car. The area where the track had been set would have been turned into a widened walkway. The scheme never materialised. In 2001 the cable car proposal returned, this would have seen the traditional Pier trains and track removed, with the area becoming part of the walkway, the trains would be replaced by cable-cars or a monorail linking the Pier head with the shore station, the cost was put at over £10million, which only a company from the private sector would be able to fund. The scheme again never materialised.
The AC Cars AC Cars Ltd of Thames Ditton were chosen to built the new fleet of 28 cars to form four trains of seven cars, these trains had three powered cars (M) and four trailer (T) cars. These were run as a M-T-T-M-T-T-M set up. The operating service saw a: peak time service, with all four trains in operation, whilst one was moving in each direction the other two would be waiting at either station for the approaching train to enter the station where it would depart, the theory behind the plan was that if a passenger walked on to the platform there would on most occasions be a train waiting. Off peak service, two trains running with the other two in stations out of use. Low season service, one train shuttle service, one train in each station the other on the track. By the 1970s two of the trains had been permanently withdrawn from use, only cars 1-7 and 22-28 remaining. One of the retired power cars was transformed into a works loco, the body shell was removed leaving only the drivers cab, a flat platform was built over the chassis which provided a means of transporting goods out to the pier head. The East line (sea-side) was originally used as the up (to pier head) line with the west (walkway) as the down (to shore), this enabled conventional left hand drive cars. The trains crossed by the scissors crossovers situated approximately 400 yards from each station. By the mid 1970s the operation had changed to both trains using the east platform at the north station running over the east track to the second crossover located at the first signal box, at which point alternate trains were switched to the west track, at the south station both sides were still used. So that people would not get confused as to which train would be the next to depart from south station the service was scheduled so that at no time were the two trains in the station at the same time. Departing trains moved out of the station to a signal protecting the cross over where it waited for the southbound train to pass. The west track between the two crossovers was not used and the west platform at the north station was used for the works unit. The AC trains remained in service until the October 1978 when an inspection of the track found it had deteriorated to a state where it needed completely replacing, it was condemned and the trains and work unit were permanently withdrawn from use. In 1976 the pier head suffered a devastating blaze, which saw 98% of the facilities destroyed, with an ever-increasing maintenance budget the council took the drastic action and closed the pier. When it finally re-opened the railway was not operational and only a few limited facilities were open on the pier head. The trains were sold off, four cars went to Tal-y-cafn in Wales, the rest of the rolling stock went to a scrap yard in Shoebury. During the 29 years in service the AC cars had travelled many millions of miles carrying some forty five million passengers. A. C. Cars Specifications Power Cars Weight of motor car (un-laden): 5 tons 15 cwt 5842 kg. Weight of trailer car: 4 tons 4 cwt 4267 kg. Number of passengers: 38. Length over buffers: 29ft 6in, 9m. Height from rail-level: 7ft 9in, 2m 36. Overall width: 6ft 6in, 1m 98. Wheelbase: 14ft 6in, 4m 42. Wheel diameter: 24", 60cm. Traction Motor rating: 17 hp 12.6 kW. Transmission Gear ratio: 57/8 7.125:1. Maximum acceleration: 1 mph/sec, 1.60kph/sec. Maximum braking rate: mph/sec, 2.41 kph/sec. Maximum speed: 18 mph, 29 kph. Motors: Crompton Parkinson CP 30 2 x 17hp. Controllers: Allen West. Motor Car No’s: 1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, 25, 28. Trailer Car: Weight: 4 tons 14 cwt. Seats: 34. Length: 29ft 6in. Height: 7ft 9in. Width: 6ft 6in. Wheelbase: 14ft 6in. Wheel Diameter: 2ft. Trailer Car No’s: 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27.
Car No 21 Lynn Tait Gallery
2nd May 1986: Inauguration of New Pier Train Service 10:15am: Her Royal Highness Princess Anne will arrive by Helicopter at Priory Park, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea. On alighting from the helicopter her Royal Highness will be received by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Essex Admiral Sir Andrew Lewis KCB. Her Royal Highness will proceed to waiting cars for the journey to Nazareth House, London Road, Southend-on-Sea, via Victoria Avenue, Victoria Circus and London Road. 10:30am: Her Royal Highness will open the reconstructed West Wing of Nazareth House. 11:30am: Her Royal Highness will leave Nazareth House for the journey to Southend Pier, the route will be London Road, Queensway, Southchurch Avenue and Marine Parade. 11:40am: Her Royal Highness will arrive at the marine Parade entrance to the Pier where she will be received by the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend-on-Sea Councillor P. H. Herbert and Mrs J. Herbert. His Worship the Mayor will present: Councillor N. Clarke Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Mrs Clarke. Councillor Mrs. L Collard Deputy Mayor and Mr Collard. Councillor G. Littler Chairman of the Leisure Services Committee and Mrs Litter. Councillor N. Moss Chairman of the Property and Development Committee and Mrs Moss Councillor D. Garston Chairman of the Environmental Services Committee and Mrs Garston. Miss Lucy Payne will present Her Majesty with a posy. Her Royal Highness will be conducted by the Mayor and Mayoress to the North station platform. Councillor N. Clarke will then invite Her Royal Highness to name one of the trains the “Sir John Betjeman” 11:50am: The Royal party will board the front two carriages of the train for the journey to the South Station at the Pier head. 12:00 noon: On arrival at the South Station the Mayor will invite her Royal Highness to unveil a plaque commemorating her visit. 12:02pm: The Royal party will then move to the Lifeboat station where the mayor will formally hand over a new lifeboat to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. After a short service of dedication Her Royal Highness will name the new boat the “Percy Garon 2”. 12:20pm: The Royal party will then proceed to the South Station via a marquee in which there will be a small exhibition showing the intended development of the pier. 12:25pm: The Royal party will board the first two coaches of the train and return to the North Station. 12:40pm: The Royal Party will leave the North Station at marine Parade level and enter the cars for the journey to Porters. The Route will be Marine Parade, Southchurch Avenue, Queensway, Southchurch Road and Tyrrel Drive. 12:45pm: The Royal party will arrive at Porters where were Royal Highness will take lunch. 2:30pm The Mayor and Mayoress will conduct Her Royal Highness to the waiting cars to take their leave. Her Royal Highness will enter the Royal Car for the journey to Abbeyfield Archer House, Laindon Road, Billericay.
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