HMS Leigh - Pier Railway Upgrade 1949
The toast rack carriages of the Southend Pier Railway carried millions of tourists before the war and over 1.5 million service people between 1939 and 1945. The old trains were due to be replaced in the late 1930s but the opening of hostilities saw that postponed.
So following sterling service during WW2 it was decided to replace Southend Pier Railway’s famous Toast Rack trains for a new more modern design.
As Chris Taylor explains in his Bygone Years film, it took until 1949 to commission and build the new sleeker carriages and power units that were a feature of the Pier for many of us growing up.