New Walmington Pier

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Beaumaris Pier

Beaumaris Pier in North Wales is a 570ft (170 metres) long part-stone, part-piled pier dating from 1846 extending to its present length in 1895 with a 2ft 6ins (762mm) gauge tramway added using hand-worked rail trolleys until at least World War 1. 

The pier was extensively rebuilt in 2011 and the tramway rails still remain in the stone section of the pier. 

Photo copyright Dave Carson

Blackpool North Pier Tramway

Blackpool North Pier Tramway was a single 889mm (2ft 11ins) gauge track 250 metres (820ft) long operated with a 3-car diesel unit. 

The tramway opened in 1991 and closed in 2004 as it was expensive to operate, served only half of the pier length and the tram could not be adapted to meet disability access requirements.

Photo copyright Geoffrey Tribe

Felixstowe Pier Tramway

The 0.5 mile (800 metres) long Felixstowe Pier opened in 1905 with a 3ft 6ins (1067mm) gauge single track electric tramway using an electric tram until its enforced wartime closure in 1939. The pier was reduced to 450ft (137 metres) long and the pier stem remains closed although a new shore end pavilion opened in July 2017.

This postcard dates at the Coronation of King George V in June 1911 as the flag-bedecked tram trundles along the pier.                                                      Unknown postcard

Herne Bay Pier Tramway

Herne Bay Pier was originally a timber pier dating from 1840 to 1872 with a sail-powered truck for its tramway. Upon completion of the 3787ft (1154 metres) long iron pier, a 3ft 4.5 ins (1029mm) gauge single line electric tramway was introduced and ran until 1925 when replaced by a petrol railcar until 1934 then replaced by a 2-car battery tram until the line's closure in 1939. 

The track remained until demolition of the pier in 1978 following storm damage thus isolating the pier head which is now in danger of collapse. 

Unknown origin

Hythe Pier Railway

The centuries-old ferry link between Southampton and Hythe is an essential service. The 2100 feet (640 metres) long Hythe Pier was built in 1880 and from 1909 used hand-worked rail trolleys to convey luggage and goods. In 1921 a new 2 feet (610mm) gauge 3rd rail electric tramway replaced the original 'baggage line' using two 1917-built electric locomotives running with 2 passenger coaches, a driving trailer coach and a luggage trolley.

This unique train still provides a vital link in Southampton's public transport network.

Photo copyright Dave Carson

Ramsey Queen's Pier Tramway

The Isle of Man's only pier tramway operated along the 2160ft (658 metres) long Ramsey Queen's Pier with a 3ft (914mm) gauge single track installed in 1899 using hand-propelled luggage trucks and a 6-seat passenger van.


Modernisation came in 1937 with a 'Planet' petrol locomotive hauling a single 'toastrack' coach, supplemented by a Wickham railcar until the pier's closure in 1981. The locomotive, coach, and a luggage truck are preserved at the Jurby Transport Museum.

Ryde Pier

Ryde Pier is the world's oldest pier dating from 1814 and the photo shows it is not one, but three separate piers. The pedestrian pier on the extreme left is the original pier now a roadway to the ferry terminal, beside it is the tramway pier dating from 1861 with two standard gauge tracks worked by horse trams between 1861 and 1884, then electric trams operated until 1927 when replaced by petrol railcars until the tramway's closure in 1969. The railway pier on the far right dates from 1881 and electrified in 1967 for the Ryde-Shanklin route.

Peter Davis Collection

Southend Pier Railway

Southend-on-Sea has The Longest Pleasure Pier in the World at 1.34 miles (2.15km) long. The first pier was a wooden pier 1500 feet (457 metres) long completed in June 1830. Then extended in 1846 to the deep-water channel at 1.12 miles (1.8km) long enabling paddle steamers to visit Southend in all tides. In August 1851, a narrow gauge horse tramway was introduced. The tram with 3 carriages and a flat trolley was hauled by 2 horses. 

The wooden pier was replaced by the existing iron pier in 1889.

Unknown origin

The existing iron pier has a railway running along it since 1890 with 'Toastrack' style electric trains running on 3ft 6ins (1067mm)  gauge track. Four seven-car trains maintained the service including throughout World War 2 when the Royal Navy requisitioned Southend Pier and became 'HMS Leigh', the Headquarters of Thames and Medway Shipping Control assembling almost 15,000 convoys using over 84,000 ships for the duration of the war. The railway returned to public use in May 1945.

Unknown origin

In 1949 the 'Toastracks' were replaced by 4, 7-car electric trains that soon became a familiar sight to the millions of London day-trippers, holiday makers and Southend's residents. No visit to Southend was complete without a ride on the green and cream pier trains!

These trains were withdrawn in 1978 and Southend Pier had no railway until 1986.

Photo copyright Dave Carson

In 1986 the railway was rebuilt and two 7-car 3ft (914mm) gauge diesel trains entered service. Named 'Sir William Heygate' after the Mayor of Southend who proposed the first pier in 1830 and 'Sir John Betjeman' who campaigned in the 1980s to save Southend Pier.

Although the trains are different, the magic of riding in a train along Southend Pier still appeals.

Photo copyright Dave Carson

1898 built Southend Pier Railway 'Toastrack' Car No. 8. It ran along Southend Pier until 1949 when it was sold to Volk's Railway, Brighton and regauged from 3ft 6ins (1067mm) to 2ft 8½ins (825mm) it operated along Brighton seafront until 1990, when it was sold to Southend Borough Council and displayed on the pier until 1992 exposed to weather and vandalism. The car was stored until 2015 and went to Chelmsford City Council who had it restored in 2018 by Alan Keef Engineers, Ross-on-Wye and transferred to its display area at Chelmsford Museum in December 2018. The Chelmsford connection being that these cars were powered by Crompton of Chelmsford electric motors.

Photo copyright Dave Carson

Southport Pier Tramway

Southport's 3633 feet (1107 metres) long pier is Britain's second longest pier and from its opening in 1860 always had some form of rail transport along it. Originally a cable-hauled tram, replaced in 1905 by a 3rd rail electric train until 1953, then by a 1ft 11.5ins (600mm) gauge diesel unit until 1996 and from 2005 the pier tram was a 3ft 6ins (1067mm) gauge 2-car 80-seat battery-powered unit until financial cutbacks in June 2015 forced its withdrawal and removal in March 2016 and replaced by a land train. 

Photo copyright Dave Carson

Walton-on-the Naze Pier Railway

The 2600 ft (792 metres) long Walton-on-the Naze Pier dates from 1898 and a 3ft 6ins (1067mm) electric tramway operated until 1935 then replaced by a battery powered rubber tyred 'guided bus' destroyed by fire in 1942. 

In 1948 a 2 ft (610mm) gauge miniature railway entered service using a petrol driven locomotive and three open carriages which operated until storm damage in 1978. This train is still working at the Amerton Railway near Stafford.

Unknown postcard

Macapa, Brazil

The "Bonde Elétrico do Trapiche Eliézer Levy" pier at Macapa on the Amazon River in Brazil opened in 1998, is 330 metres (1082 feet) long with a 1600mm (5ft 3ins) gauge single track and operated by a single battery-powered tram.

2016 reports indicate that the tram has closed.

Wikipedia photo

Busselton Jetty, Australia

Located south of Perth, Western Australia, the 1.8km (1.12 miles) long Busselton Jetty dates from 1865 serving shipping until the port closed in 1973. The Jetty was refurbished to a pleasure pier reopening in 2005.