The Former Southend Pier Railway.
This page shows the former electric trains that operated on the 1½ mile long pier at Southend-On-Sea, in Essex. They were introduced in 1949 (replacing older trains which operated a pre-war service) and in all there were four 'trains' each of which consisted of seven four-wheel carriages. The system was electrified at 500v dc using a centrally located third rail and the track gauge was 3ft 6in (approx 106cm).
The line closed in the late 1970's - some reports suggest 1978 whilst others say that public services ended in October 1976 but for the benefit of the lifeboat crew some occasional trains continued to operate until July 1979. In 1986 a new two-train die-sel service was opened (diesel train not illustrated).
The first image dates from the late 1970's. It was taken using 126 print film and digitised in 2003 - unfortunately by which time the colours on the negative had began to "change". The rest were taken in 1982 and show the vehicles on the promenade awaiting removal for scrapping. These were taken on Kodachrome 64 film - the square shaped views on a "126" format film Instamatic camera and the other views on a "110" format camera which featured a fixed aperture but an automated electronic shutter that facilitated low-light and indoor photography without the use of flashguns. Unfortunately the limited width of the promenade prevented my walking 'back' enough to be able to source full-width side views of any of the carriages. There are no views of trains travelling between stations or arriving / departing stations.
A train (in passenger service) standing in the platform at the pier head station.
This view was taken during a lunch break on a business trip to Southend - most of which was spent getting to / from the pier. It is regretted but there simply was not the time to spend waiting to photograph moving trains. Immediately after taking this photograph the train was boarded to await the return journey.
Driving motor carriage No.22 on the promenade. This carriage is now one of the exhibits at the Southend Pier Museum , it would have been nice to have been able to include a photograph of it there however the museum's strict prohibition on visitor photography made this impossible.
Side elevation of the driver's cab showing some of the electrical control gear.
The 'inside' end of carriage No.22.
When in public service this end would be coupled to the next carriage, so it would not normally have been possible to source this type of unobstructed view.
Side elevation of carriage No.12 showing the closed sliding passenger doors.
Side elevation of carriage No.22 showing the open sliding passenger doors.
Inside carriage No.22 looking towards the driver's cab.
Inside trailer carriage No.3.
Window detail - inside carriage No.3.
Front three-quarter elevation of a works carriage.
Rear three-quarter elevation of a works carriage plus part of an adjacent trailer.
Carriages Nos 4 and 2.
A close-up view of the above image.
A side elevation of the station at the 'land' end of the pier. Some trains are just visible through the windows.
Additional Southend Pier Railway photographs from when the line was in full use plus much information about services and how they operated (sometimes using all four trains at the same time - two at the stations and two travelling between the stations) can be found here:- http://www.greywall.demon.co.uk/rail/spr.html
The 'official' Southend Pier Museum website can be found here:- http://www.southendpiermuseum.co.uk/
The Southend Pier Museum welcomes visitors, who are strongly recommended to check the website for opening days and times in advance of travelling. The museum includes three former Southend Pier electric trains, as well other items of rolling stock and displays (etc) which may be of interest. Visitors need to know that unfortunately the museum has a very strict prohibition on personal photography. Instead visitors are encouraged to purchase images (postcards) from the shop, which alas do not always reflect the types of detailed photographs that transport enthusiasts may wish to take. Because of this and for reasons of copyright it is regretted that this page does not include any promotional images showing the restored trains in the museum.
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