The new trains due to be introduced into service on the Southend Pier Railway will be a mixture of heritage and modern after the local Council revealed the confirmed final designs earlier in the summer. Green and cream will return to the fleet – a colour scheme last seen in 1978 – whilst the noses of the trains will be of a modern design.
Due to be built by Severn Lamb, the designs of the new trains and the livery were chosen after consultation on Southend on Sea Borough Council’s social media channels which gave the public several different options to choose from.
3,466 comments were received with 46% of these favouring the modern nose cone (1,598) with the heritage nose cone coming in second place with 25% of the “vote”. The ultra-modern nose cone was at 17% and the tendered version at 12%.
On the livery 49% preferred the green and cream livery (last seen on trains between 1949 and 1978) with 31% in favour of a blue and silver livery and 20% liking the dark contrast.
Now that the decisions have been made on the final designs Severn Lamb – who also built the current trains – have started on the work to construct the new trains which will replace the current trains which have been in operation for over 30 years since 1986.
The trains will feature many modern features including on-board wi-fi, USB charging points and on board CCTV. There will be an increased capacity of 244 (up from 180), an increased wheelchair capacity (all carriages will be wheelchair accessible with a minimum of six wheelchair spaces per train) and they will be lithium battery electric operated.
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “There was an incredible response to our call-out for views earlier this year, with nearly 3,500 comments made. A heritage green and cream livery and the modern nose cone proved the favourite and has therefore been selected. Southend-on-Sea is the longest pleasure pier in the world and one of the last to still include a railway, so it is great that the heritage and history of our beloved pier will be reflected in the new designs. I am delighted that we are now taking this design forward into production and cannot wait to see these new trains gracing the Pier in 2021. I hope they will instill a sense of pride and joy in local people and visitors too.”