Whilst we were reporting at the height of service amendments and closures both of modern operating tramways and heritage lines one line which wasn’t mentioned was the Hythe Pier Railway – the world’s oldest continuously operating electric pier train. The reason for that it was still running at the time but following the suspension of the Ferry it connects with it has now ceased operation for the foreseeable future.
The Hythe Ferry runs along the River Itchen between Hythe and Southampton, passing the cruise ship terminal used by ships including the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria, offering a 10 minute journey between the two locations. At the Hythe end of the service it is linked to the land along the Pier by the railway which usually consists of a locomotive, three passenger cars and a four wheel flat car for luggage. The Pier is 640 metres long and the current railway started running in 1922 although the first service had run in 1909. It is recognised as the world’s oldest continuously operating electric pier train.
However, it won’t be running for a while as following a continued fall in passenger numbers the ferry service was suspended from Sunday 18th April, and with it the railway.