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c2c is a National Express Group train operating company that provides train services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line from Fenchurch Street stationmarker in the City of Londonmarker to East Londonmarker along the entire length of the northern Thames Gatewaymarker area including Basildonmarker, Chafford Hundredmarker (for Lakeside Shopping Centremarker), Tilburymarker and Southend-on-Seamarker. This route is known as the Essex Thameside franchise. The main route from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Basildon is long, and the fastest timetabled journey time from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness is 58 minutes. The line currently has a maximum speed limit of , although the Class 357 Electrostar electrical multiple unit trains which run on it are capable of a maximum speed of . Before July 2002, it traded under the name LTS Rail. Following problems with the East Coast franchise, the Department for Transportmarker has indicated that it will be "unacceptable" for National Express to continue to operate the c2c franchise. Instead of terminating the contract immediately, it will be allowed to run until 31 May 2011 and will be put out to tender, with National Express not allowed to rebid. National Express Group has indicated it would like to continue operating the franchise.

Management and branding

c2c's franchise was one of the first three in the UK to be awarded, beginning on May 26, 1996 for a term of 15 years at an average annual subsidy of £18.4 million, and will expire on May 31, 2011. It was initially awarded to Prism Rail in December 1995 and was marketed as LTS Rail. It was due to begin operation in February 1996 but "the LTS Rail franchise was not completed because of allegations of ticketing and settlement irregularities. It was re-tendered in March 1996 and awarded in May 1996 to Prism Rail." Prism Rail was purchased by National Express in September 2000 and the franchise was rebranded as c2c in 2002. The name could be conceived to represent city to coast or "capital to coast", reflecting the nature of the route, or "commitment to customers".

The c2c website states:

c2c used the tagline "way2go", but now uses the "Making travel simpler" slogan also used by the other companies in the National Express Group. All stations on the route are managed by c2c except Fenchurch Street which is managed by Network Rail and West Ham which is managed by London Underground. The current managing director is Julian Drury.


Most c2c services operate from Fenchurch Street

The typical off peak service consists of eight trains per hour (tph) arriving and departing Fenchurch Street:
  • 4 tph to Shoeburyness via Basildon
    • of which 2 tph do not stop at Limehouse, West Horndon or Pitsea
  • 2 tph to Grays via Rainham
  • 2 tph to Southend Central via Ockendon
On Sundays, the non-stopping service does not run and the Grays via Rainham service is reduced to a 1 tph shuttle from Barking.

The London Underground District Line also serves Upminster stationmarker, Barking stationmarker, West Ham stationmarker and Tower Hillmarker (for Fenchurch Street). Tickets are fully interchangeable between the two operators. The District Line runs alongside the c2c tracks from Bowmarker to Upminster with c2c services providing the fast service and the District Line providing the stopping service. Cross-platform interchange is provided at Barking between the two services.

The number of peak services calling at West Ham are restricted by signalling system constraints. A new peak timetable introduced on 11 December 2006, with the stated intention of improving services for Thurrockmarker and London Riverside sections of the Thames Gatewaymarker, was withdrawn on 8 January 2007 after a successful campaign by passengers as a result of delays and cancellations that affected other lines on the network.

In January 2005, it was announced that an on-train television service would be trialled on the fleet. In June 2006 the 360 On-Board Television service ran in to financial difficulties when c2c's partners in the project, TNCI (UK), ceased trading, and the service was withdrawn. c2c has indicated it will recommence the roll-out should a suitable partner be found for the scheme. Although only one unit had the television service installed and subsequently decommissioned, Wi-Fi has now been installed and tested and will soon be available for public use.

In June 2006, it was announced that portable X-ray machines and metal detectors would be randomly placed at c2c 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.

In October 2007, c2c announced that the first carriage of each unit would be made into a "Quiet Zone", where loud talking and use of mobile phones and personal audio players is prohibited. The "Quiet Zone" was introduced in early 2008 and is indicated by magenta vinyl stickers on the doors of the carriage.

London terminus

Liverpool Street stationmarker is used as an alternative London terminus when necessary engineering work restricts access to Fenchurch Street. Regular late evening c2c services have previously operated from there. , a limited number of weekday services in the early morning and late evening operate between Barking and Liverpool Street, calling at Stratfordmarker.


For August 2005, c2c was named the most punctual rail service in Britain, with 95.3% punctuality for that month. At the end of the 2008-09 financial year, c2c was once again named most-punctual railway service with 95.3% annual average of services running on time.

The latest performance figures from the ORR (Office for Rail Regulation) as of the first quarter of the financial year of 2009-10 were up on the same period last year, c2c achieved PPM of 96.7% and MAA 95.7%.. This result made c2c the best performing train operating company of this quarter, one of four TOCs to achieve over 95% punctuality for this quarter (Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways and Merseyrail being the other three). In 2005, c2c was awarded the Golden Spanner Award at the Annual National Rail Awards. This was presented to its East Hammarker Depot team for its work in maintaining the fleet of Electrostar trains. In 2006, c2c held on to this award, making it the winner for 2 years running.

c2c has received criticism from Transport for London due to an incident on 2 April 2007. A power failure, caused by a piece of plastic wrapped around the overhead power cables, caused trains in the West Ham area to become stranded. Some passengers forced open the doors on a c2c train and walked along the track. As a safety precaution, London Underground cut the power to the adjacent District Line, causing serious delays to their service.


Tickets for trains between Fenchurch Street and Upminster are inter-available with London Underground services between Tower Hill and Upminster; and are sold at standard Transport for London rates. All other journeys are priced by c2c. Under this arrangement Oyster card pay-as-you-go has been available since 2004 from Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street and Upminster. It was extended to Rainham in 2008 and will be extended beyond Travelcard Zone 6 to Grays in 2010.

Rolling stock

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 357 Electrostar electric multiple unit 100 160 74 London, Tilbury and Southend Railway 1999 - 2002
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 systems to all of its Class 357 fleet, becoming the first UK train operator to do so. On 3 June 2007, the eve of World Environment Day, Class 357 Electrostar unit 357010 was given an all-over green vinyl sticker livery with the tagline "All c2c trains are greener now - find out more at - - c2c - the greener way to go" to highlight the completion of the scheme, which has given energy savings of up to 20%. On 2 October 2007, c2c announced that they had switched to using renewably generated electricity sources in all of their stations, maintenance facilities and offices in a contract with E.ON UK, which was the largest of its kind in the transport sector.

In June 2009, c2c announced that their trains will change livery, with the addition of the National Express logo.


  1. BBC News - More than 85% of trains on time
  2. c2c is highest performing train operator c2c Retrieved 31 May 2009

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