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c2c[1] is a British train operating company owned by National Express. It has operated the London, Tilbury & Southend (now Essex Thameside) passenger franchise since May 1996.

As of February 2012 c2c is National Express's only remaining rail franchise; in 2003 it operated nine.[2]


The London, Tilbury & Southend railway franchise was due to start in February 1996 but, because of allegations of ticketing and settlement irregularities with the preferred bidder, Enterprise Rail, it was re-tendered.[3][4][5]

In May 1996 the franchise was awarded to Prism Rail by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising for 15 years with an average annual subsidy of £18.4 million. It began operating as LTS Rail on 26 May 1996.[6]

In July 2000 Prism Rail was bought by National Express.[7][8]

The franchise was originally due to finish on 26 May 2011. In December 2010 the Department for Transport granted National Express an extension until 26 May 2013 to allow it time to conduct a review of the franchising process.[9] In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 13 September 2014.[10]

Branding and marketingEdit

The c2c name could be conceived to represent city to coast or capital to coast, reflecting the nature of the route, or commitment to customers.[11]

The c2c website states:
"The name c2c doesn't mean anything specific. In a sense it can mean anything you want it to. Its uniqueness reflects the young, vibrant character of the people we serve. c2c could stand for coast to capital, or capital to coast. From our point of view, one of the most important things it stands for is commitment to customers."

c2c used the slogan way2go, but now uses the Making travel simpler slogan also used by other companies in the National Express Group. All stations on the route are managed by c2c except Template:Stnlink (Network Rail) and West Ham (London Underground).


c2c operates services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line from London Fenchurch Street to East London and along the northern Thames Gateway area of southern Essex, including Basildon, Chafford Hundred (for Lakeside Shopping Centre), Tilbury and Southend-on-Sea. The main route from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Basildon is Template:Convert, with a fastest timetabled journey time of 58 minutes[12] giving an average speed of 40.7 mph, although the route can be done in 47 minutes, an average speed of 50 mph.[13] The line has a speed limit of Template:Convert, although the Class 357 Electrostar trains are capable of Template:Convert.

File:Fenchurch street station.jpg

Template:C2C RDT The typical off-peak service per hour consists of 8 trains arriving and departing Fenchurch Street:

  • 4 to Shoeburyness via Basildon
    • of which 2 do not stop at Limehouse, West Horndon or Pitsea
  • 2 to Grays via Rainham
  • 2 to Southend Central via Ockendon

On Sundays, the non-stopping service does not run and the Grays via Rainham service is reduced to an hourly shuttle from Barking.

As c2c is mainly a London commuter railway and the average c2c journey is between 40 and 70 minutes, c2c does not offer first-class seating. Its Class 357s have standard high-density 3+2 seating to meet high demand at peak times.

London Underground's District line connects with c2c indirectly at Tower Hill (for Fenchurch Street) and directly at West Ham, Barking and Upminster. Tickets are fully interchangeable between the two operators. There are also interchanges at Limehouse and West Ham with Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and at Barking with London Overground.

The number of peak services calling at West Ham is constrained by signalling.[14] A peak timetable introduced on 11 December 2006, with the aim of improving services for the Thurrock and London Riverside sections of the Thames Gateway,[14] was withdrawn on 8 January 2007 after a campaign by passengers as a result of delays and cancellations that affected other lines on the network.[15][16]

In January 2005 it was announced that an on-train television service would be tried out, and one unit had television installed. In June 2006 the 360 On-Board Television service ran into financial difficulties when c2c's partner in the project, TNCI (UK), ceased trading, and the service was withdrawn. c2c indicated it would restart the roll-out should a suitable partner be found.[17]

In June 2006 it was announced that portable X-ray machines and metal detectors would be randomly placed at stations and carried by officers on trains during summer 2006 to catch people carrying weapons, in a joint operation with Essex Police and British Transport Police, following trials at London Underground stations.[18]

In October 2007 c2c announced that the first coach of each unit would be made a Quiet Zone, where passengers are asked not to use their mobile phones or play music out loud.[19] The Quiet Zone was introduced in early 2008 and is indicated by magenta vinyl stickers on the doors of the coach.[20]

London terminusEdit

London Liverpool Street is used as an alternative London terminus by a limited number of early morning and late evening weekday services calling at Stratford[21] and when engineering work blocks access to Fenchurch Street. This route runs over part of the London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking line, however trains pass through Woodgrange Park station without stopping.


For August 2005 c2c was named the most punctual rail service in Britain, with 95.3% punctuality for that month.[22] At the end of the 2008–09 financial year, c2c was again named the most punctual railway service, with 95.3% annual average of services running on time.[23] In the four weeks ended 21 August 2010, 98.8% of all c2c services arrived within 4 minutes 59 seconds. The previous UK record was 98.0%, also set by c2c.

In 2005 c2c was awarded the Golden Spanner Award at the Annual National Rail Awards. This was presented to its East Ham Depot team for its work in maintaining the fleet. In 2006, c2c held on to this award.

c2c was criticised by the Transport for London over an incident on 2 April 2007. A power failure caused by a piece of rubbish wrapped around the overhead power lines caused trains in the West Ham area to become stranded. Some passengers forced open the doors on and walked along the line. As a safety precaution, London Underground cut the power to the adjacent District line, causing serious delays to its services.[24]

Performance at c2c has remained high: the official NR (Network Rail) statistics for the seventh period of the 2013/2014 financial year show c2c had a PPM of 97.8% for the period, and MAA of 97.2% for the 12 months up to 12 October 2013.[25]


File:357036 at Southend Central.jpg

Tickets for trains between Fenchurch Street and Upminster are inter-available with London Underground services between Tower Hill and Upminster, at Transport for London fares. All other journeys are priced by c2c. Oyster card pay-as-you-go has been available since 2004 between Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street and Upminster. It was extended to Rainham in 2008[26] and beyond Travelcard Zone 6 to Grays in January 2010.[27] Oyster cards may be purchased or topped up at some c2c stations that are not also London Underground stations, including Chafford Hundred, Grays, and Purfleet. c2c ticket machines in the Oyster PAYG area have been upgraded so they can read Oyster cards.

Rolling stockEdit

c2c inherited a fleet of Class 302, Class 310 and Class 312s from British Rail.

To replace the Class 302s, British Rail Class 317 were hired from West Anglia Great Northern from 1996 until 1999.

A franchise commitment was the replacement of the entire fleet, resulting in c2c ordering a new Class 357 Electrostar fleet.

In 2003 c2c became the first train operating company to replace its entire fleet with new trains. In March 2007, after extensive trials, c2c began fitting regenerative braking to its fleet, becoming the first UK train operator to do so.[28] On 3 June 2007, the eve of World Environment Day, 357010 was given an all-over green vinyl sticker livery with the slogan "All c2c trains are greener now – find out more at – – c2c – the greener way to go" to highlight the completion of the scheme, which the company says has enabled energy savings of up to 20%.[29] On 2 October 2007, c2c announced that it had switched to renewably-generated electricity in all its stations, maintenance facilities and offices in a contract with E.ON UK, said to be the largest of its kind in the transport sector.[30] 357010 lost its green livery in March 2011 as part of the relivery project.

With a few Class 357s being out of service at the same time, from late 2006 two Class 321s were hired from Silverlink for three months for weekday peak-hour use on between Fenchurch Street and Laindon, and Pitsea via Rainham, to cover for the unavailable units. The Class 321s were used with guards as they were incompatible with the positioning of c2c's Driver Only Operation mirrors.

In June 2009 Bombardier began repainting the Class 357 units.[31] The vinyl wraps carrying the original purplish blue and magenta c2c livery were removed and the units reliveried in white with dark blue doors.[31][32]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 357 Electrostar 100px EMU 100 160 74 London, Tilbury & Southend Railway 1999–2002


c2c's fleet is maintained at East Ham Depot.

Franchise renewalEdit

On 29 March 2012 the Department for Transport announced that Abellio, First, MTR and National Express had been shortlisted for the Essex Thameside franchise.[33]

On 2 July 2012 the Department for Transport issued the Invitation to Tender to the shortlisted bidders.[34]

Bids were lodged in September 2012, and the successful bidder was due to be announced in January 2013. Operations were to begin on 27 May 2013. However, in the wake of the InterCity West Coast refranchising process collapsing, the government announced in October 2012 that the process would be put on hold pending the results of a review.[35]

In January 2013 the government announced a revised Invitation to Tender would be issued in summer 2013 with an interim contract for up to two years to be negotiated with National Express.[36] In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 13 September 2014.[10]




  1. Companies House extract company no 2938993 c2c Rail Limited
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  10. 10.0 10.1 "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
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  13. Rail Performance: C2C.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Script error Template:Dead link
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  17. Template:Cite press release
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  21. c2c online: 13 December 2009 timetable.
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  23. Template:Cite press release
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  28. Template:Cite press release
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  31. 31.0 31.1 Script error
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  33. Template:Cite press release
  34. Essex Thameside franchise: Invitation to tender. Department for Transport. 2 July 2012.
  35. Template:Cite press release
  36. Rail franchising future programme Department for Transport 31 January 2013

External linksEdit

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