With tensions already running high in Southend after today’s announcement that trains along Southend Pier could be out of service for up to 12 WEEKS, there was further outrage after the council revealed that they WILL NOT be running rail replacement services while the work is carried out. According to tourism bosses, running buses along the pier’s walkway would carry an unacceptable level of risk – they admitted that their main concern would be walkers being forced to jump into the sea.
Pier engagement lead manager Nigel Wood said: ‘It is with regret that we announce that Southend Pier trains will be out of action for up to 12 weeks while emergency repairs are carried out. We will not be able to run rail replacement buses while the railway is closed as there will be far too many risks involved with this. A local group of pier enthusiasts have offered to run a cost-effective, safe and generally sensible hovercraft service to get visitors who don’t want to walk to and from the pier head, but naturally we have had to turn them down for operational reasons, whatever they are.’
Local business owner Henry Sycophantini said: ‘Whatever the council’s reasons are for not running a rail replacement bus service, I’m sure that they are for the best. While the pier visitor hovercraft service would have been a massive boost for our town with the thousands of people that it would have attracted to Southend, I’m sure that this decision is for the best. Anyone who is upset by this decision should just get behind the town and remember that there is more to Southend than a train ride along the pier – seriously.’