Another 8 week delay over new Shoebury to Fenchurch Street franchise; c2c to continue for another two months

Peter Slattery

Peter Slattery

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior reporter

THE DELAYED award of a new contract for a firm to run the Shoebury to Fenchurch Street line has been put back – again.

The Government has been seeking bids from a range of companies the line for the line run by c2c for 15 years from September.

Rail operator c2c’s last franchise expired in May, but it was allowed to continue running services while the Department for Transport delayed the awarding of a new franchise.

The first bidding process collapsed in 2012 after a legal wrangle over the West Coast line.

Today it has emerged that the Government has again delayed the awarding of the franchise – which has meant to start in September but now looks unlikely to be awarded until November.

Peter Slattery, chairman of the Southend Rail Travellers’ Federation, said: “It seems like a bit of a farce, it’s laughable.

“They put everything on hold for 18 months so they could sort out the whole system, then it was meant to be March of this year, then postponed again, they just seem to be opposed to making a decision.

“For customers it’s going to mean the same train service as we’ve had. It does need improving, we would like minutes taken off so there’s a faster service and we won’t get that until the new franchise is awarded, but we can’t complain too much as c2c is one of the best train operators in the country.”

A c2c spokesman said the company would maintain its current level of service.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am determined that the next phase of this franchise will build on that success. By extending this contract, we are making sure that the best decision is made so that we can secure the best possible service for passengers in the future.”

Companies believed to be in the running for the new franchise contract are c2c, FirstGroup, Abellio and the Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation.

Comments (23)

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11:18am Fri 30 May 14

Howard Cháse says...

Trains are still running in the meantime aren't they?
Trains are still running in the meantime aren't they? Howard Cháse
  • Score: 0

11:51am Fri 30 May 14

Leighdweller says...

Fingers crossed it stays as it is.
Fingers crossed it stays as it is. Leighdweller
  • Score: 29

12:06pm Fri 30 May 14

whateverhappened says...

if it ain't broke...
if it ain't broke... whateverhappened
  • Score: 24

12:06pm Fri 30 May 14

Ian P says...

Since it was taken over by C2C this has become one of the best run lines in the country. The Government should be asking C2C to run other lines, not considering giving the franchise for this line to someone else. It a'int broke, so don't fix it.
Since it was taken over by C2C this has become one of the best run lines in the country. The Government should be asking C2C to run other lines, not considering giving the franchise for this line to someone else. It a'int broke, so don't fix it. Ian P
  • Score: 34

12:39pm Fri 30 May 14

jassouthend says...

I really hope C2C keep it, they are great, it shouldn't be touched, government - if its not run by you, don't touch it unless there is an issue #c2ctostay
I really hope C2C keep it, they are great, it shouldn't be touched, government - if its not run by you, don't touch it unless there is an issue #c2ctostay jassouthend
  • Score: 17

1:19pm Fri 30 May 14

Horace Wimpole says...

The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables.

A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.
The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables. A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress. Horace Wimpole
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Fri 30 May 14

MattFCC says...

I really hope C2C keep the contract. I've travelled a few trains in 40 years, and found C2C to be the best, most reliable service in the country!

Very few delays, and very helpful information when things do go wrong.
I really hope C2C keep the contract. I've travelled a few trains in 40 years, and found C2C to be the best, most reliable service in the country! Very few delays, and very helpful information when things do go wrong. MattFCC
  • Score: 14

1:46pm Fri 30 May 14

EssexPerson says...

Horace Wimpole wrote:
The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables.

A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.
What are you on about, faster acceleration and deceleration? You looking for 0-60 in 3 secs or something? That will be comfortable for all.
As for taking an hour, that is not C2C's fault. C2C can only go as fast as Network Rail allow. C2C don't own the tracks, that is Network Rail and the tracks aren't suitable for high speed due to years of underfunding and neglect. We'd all love to see the Japanese Bullet Train but that isn't going to happen.
As for no progress! Gone are the old slam door trains, we now have air conditioned, clean trains that look nice and are comfortable to ride on.
I don't understand people sometimes, there's is all these improvements that you chose to ignore and moan about, you demand more but I guess you are one of the first to moan when C2C increase rail fares.
Have you been on other lines in the country? Have you seen the poor conditions on the Southend/Liverpool Street line? Have you seen the consistently high reliability and punctuality rewards that C2C get?
The only criticism that C2C can be blamed for is the peak hours standing issue but that is a nationwide problem.
Government must keep C2C.
[quote][p][bold]Horace Wimpole[/bold] wrote: The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables. A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.[/p][/quote]What are you on about, faster acceleration and deceleration? You looking for 0-60 in 3 secs or something? That will be comfortable for all. As for taking an hour, that is not C2C's fault. C2C can only go as fast as Network Rail allow. C2C don't own the tracks, that is Network Rail and the tracks aren't suitable for high speed due to years of underfunding and neglect. We'd all love to see the Japanese Bullet Train but that isn't going to happen. As for no progress! Gone are the old slam door trains, we now have air conditioned, clean trains that look nice and are comfortable to ride on. I don't understand people sometimes, there's is all these improvements that you chose to ignore and moan about, you demand more but I guess you are one of the first to moan when C2C increase rail fares. Have you been on other lines in the country? Have you seen the poor conditions on the Southend/Liverpool Street line? Have you seen the consistently high reliability and punctuality rewards that C2C get? The only criticism that C2C can be blamed for is the peak hours standing issue but that is a nationwide problem. Government must keep C2C. EssexPerson
  • Score: 27

2:05pm Fri 30 May 14

wobblybob says...

OK guys & gals, firstly c2c has brought nothing to this service, it was the previous company LTS who introduced everything we now have, it was cherry picked by c2c & since then not a lot has happened, except most of the promises LTS made weren't kept by the new company (such as a 24hr service & better services via Rainham & Tilbury) Two things previously mentioned are linked, slower trains & better punctuality. They have consistently 'padded-out' the timetable, adding around 5 - 7 minutes to many journey times in order to make the punctuality figures look better. Probably my biggest gripe would be all the effort put into extending the platforms on the Tilbury loop to 12 coaches to try & improve the overcrowding, then c2c cancelled the extra rolling stock to enable the 12 coach trains to be run. Very short sighted and the overcrowding is now worse than ever.
OK guys & gals, firstly c2c has brought nothing to this service, it was the previous company LTS who introduced everything we now have, it was cherry picked by c2c & since then not a lot has happened, except most of the promises LTS made weren't kept by the new company (such as a 24hr service & better services via Rainham & Tilbury) Two things previously mentioned are linked, slower trains & better punctuality. They have consistently 'padded-out' the timetable, adding around 5 - 7 minutes to many journey times in order to make the punctuality figures look better. Probably my biggest gripe would be all the effort put into extending the platforms on the Tilbury loop to 12 coaches to try & improve the overcrowding, then c2c cancelled the extra rolling stock to enable the 12 coach trains to be run. Very short sighted and the overcrowding is now worse than ever. wobblybob
  • Score: -1

2:07pm Fri 30 May 14

Cockle says...

Horace Wimpole wrote:
The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables.

A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.
Agreed, Horace, times have certainly got slower, however, there is another point of view as to whether it is better to have trains arrive when they say they are going to than to try and run them quicker but with more running late.

Not sure that the everyday commuter is overly worried that his journey takes a few minutes longer if it actually runs to published time, which in C2C's case is the high end 90%'s.
On balance would you rather have a train that arrives on time or one that tries to get there quicker but leaves you standing around on a cold, wet, wintery platform for ten minutes half the time because it's running late?

Difficult one to balance.
[quote][p][bold]Horace Wimpole[/bold] wrote: The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables. A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.[/p][/quote]Agreed, Horace, times have certainly got slower, however, there is another point of view as to whether it is better to have trains arrive when they say they are going to than to try and run them quicker but with more running late. Not sure that the everyday commuter is overly worried that his journey takes a few minutes longer if it actually runs to published time, which in C2C's case is the high end 90%'s. On balance would you rather have a train that arrives on time or one that tries to get there quicker but leaves you standing around on a cold, wet, wintery platform for ten minutes half the time because it's running late? Difficult one to balance. Cockle
  • Score: 2

2:23pm Fri 30 May 14

Horace Wimpole says...

EssexPerson wrote:
Horace Wimpole wrote:
The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables.

A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.
What are you on about, faster acceleration and deceleration? You looking for 0-60 in 3 secs or something? That will be comfortable for all.
As for taking an hour, that is not C2C's fault. C2C can only go as fast as Network Rail allow. C2C don't own the tracks, that is Network Rail and the tracks aren't suitable for high speed due to years of underfunding and neglect. We'd all love to see the Japanese Bullet Train but that isn't going to happen.
As for no progress! Gone are the old slam door trains, we now have air conditioned, clean trains that look nice and are comfortable to ride on.
I don't understand people sometimes, there's is all these improvements that you chose to ignore and moan about, you demand more but I guess you are one of the first to moan when C2C increase rail fares.
Have you been on other lines in the country? Have you seen the poor conditions on the Southend/Liverpool Street line? Have you seen the consistently high reliability and punctuality rewards that C2C get?
The only criticism that C2C can be blamed for is the peak hours standing issue but that is a nationwide problem.
Government must keep C2C.
Calm down you nelly. I like the service. I've already said it's better than most. I'm not asking for a bullet train, just a modern train that can go as fast as the old ones.

What are you, some kind of anorak apologist?
[quote][p][bold]EssexPerson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Horace Wimpole[/bold] wrote: The line is good in comparison with others, but everything has become slower and slower. I remember when the new rolling stock was brought in: the features touted were faster trains with speedier acceleration and deceleration... but we've actually seen trains become slower in the timetables. A 'fast' train from Shoebury, at peak hours, takes over an hour to get to Fenchurch Street. That's not progress.[/p][/quote]What are you on about, faster acceleration and deceleration? You looking for 0-60 in 3 secs or something? That will be comfortable for all. As for taking an hour, that is not C2C's fault. C2C can only go as fast as Network Rail allow. C2C don't own the tracks, that is Network Rail and the tracks aren't suitable for high speed due to years of underfunding and neglect. We'd all love to see the Japanese Bullet Train but that isn't going to happen. As for no progress! Gone are the old slam door trains, we now have air conditioned, clean trains that look nice and are comfortable to ride on. I don't understand people sometimes, there's is all these improvements that you chose to ignore and moan about, you demand more but I guess you are one of the first to moan when C2C increase rail fares. Have you been on other lines in the country? Have you seen the poor conditions on the Southend/Liverpool Street line? Have you seen the consistently high reliability and punctuality rewards that C2C get? The only criticism that C2C can be blamed for is the peak hours standing issue but that is a nationwide problem. Government must keep C2C.[/p][/quote]Calm down you nelly. I like the service. I've already said it's better than most. I'm not asking for a bullet train, just a modern train that can go as fast as the old ones. What are you, some kind of anorak apologist? Horace Wimpole
  • Score: 4

2:48pm Fri 30 May 14

roger moore says...

the government is like the middle man we could all do without.
the government is like the middle man we could all do without. roger moore
  • Score: 6

2:55pm Fri 30 May 14

bigmak says...

I hope that Abelio do not get a chance.
When C2C trains get to Fenchurch Street or Shoebury, the train cleaners are waiting and by the time it leaves again, it is clean and no rubbish left behind.
Then take a Greater Anglia train and wade through the old newspapers and food cartons, no comparison! First Group is even worse, try as local train around Bristol. Have the others contenders given assurances about maintaining this cleanliness? I doubt it! Keep up the good work C2C.....
I hope that Abelio do not get a chance. When C2C trains get to Fenchurch Street or Shoebury, the train cleaners are waiting and by the time it leaves again, it is clean and no rubbish left behind. Then take a Greater Anglia train and wade through the old newspapers and food cartons, no comparison! First Group is even worse, try as local train around Bristol. Have the others contenders given assurances about maintaining this cleanliness? I doubt it! Keep up the good work C2C..... bigmak
  • Score: 11

5:06pm Fri 30 May 14

ddf35 says...

another vote for c2c to stay from me. Travelling on greater anglia is utter crap in comparison - especially in the hot summer - just hideous. The only advantage is that liverpool st is a more comprehensive station to arrive in and leave from (easier to get to toilets and more food/drink options & wifi)
another vote for c2c to stay from me. Travelling on greater anglia is utter crap in comparison - especially in the hot summer - just hideous. The only advantage is that liverpool st is a more comprehensive station to arrive in and leave from (easier to get to toilets and more food/drink options & wifi) ddf35
  • Score: 4

5:09pm Fri 30 May 14

cockleshed says...

I have commuted from Leigh for almost 40 years. Yes it was a nice to get a 12 coach train which started at Leigh and called Benfleet only with slam doors , 1st and 2nd class, smoking, non-smoking, ladies only carriages and a forty minute journey ..but I think that c2c's slightly longer but more reliable service is fantastic.. I hope they can continue with this franchise..
I have commuted from Leigh for almost 40 years. Yes it was a nice to get a 12 coach train which started at Leigh and called Benfleet only with slam doors , 1st and 2nd class, smoking, non-smoking, ladies only carriages and a forty minute journey ..but I think that c2c's slightly longer but more reliable service is fantastic.. I hope they can continue with this franchise.. cockleshed
  • Score: 5

5:25pm Fri 30 May 14

John Right says...

Change is as good as a rest, C2C have had their chance to deliver what they once promised, so without giving too much away, time will tell
Change is as good as a rest, C2C have had their chance to deliver what they once promised, so without giving too much away, time will tell John Right
  • Score: -5

5:38pm Fri 30 May 14

Horace Wimpole says...

John Right wrote:
Change is as good as a rest, C2C have had their chance to deliver what they once promised, so without giving too much away, time will tell
Ooh mysterious!
[quote][p][bold]John Right[/bold] wrote: Change is as good as a rest, C2C have had their chance to deliver what they once promised, so without giving too much away, time will tell[/p][/quote]Ooh mysterious! Horace Wimpole
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Fri 30 May 14

andync55 says...

Careful what you wish for, I have to suffer the Abellio Southend to Liv St line, you wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy!! getting on the c2c is like a breath of fresh air.
Careful what you wish for, I have to suffer the Abellio Southend to Liv St line, you wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy!! getting on the c2c is like a breath of fresh air. andync55
  • Score: 6

7:36pm Fri 30 May 14

jolllyboy says...

c2c should stay - it works.
c2c should stay - it works. jolllyboy
  • Score: 5

9:15pm Fri 30 May 14

No Riff Raff says...

A lot of people are missing the point re journey times. Why in the later evening do people living in benfleet and beyond have to put up with trains that are only four coaches, one broken toilet and stop at nearly every station! Why no fast services first stop benfleet? We pay the highest fares and get a rubbish service. Back in the 90's there was a 9pm/ 10pm/ 11pm eight coached, basildon, benfleet, then all stations to shoebury. The richest people aren't treated very well by c2c, about time it changed.
A lot of people are missing the point re journey times. Why in the later evening do people living in benfleet and beyond have to put up with trains that are only four coaches, one broken toilet and stop at nearly every station! Why no fast services first stop benfleet? We pay the highest fares and get a rubbish service. Back in the 90's there was a 9pm/ 10pm/ 11pm eight coached, basildon, benfleet, then all stations to shoebury. The richest people aren't treated very well by c2c, about time it changed. No Riff Raff
  • Score: -5

3:11pm Sat 31 May 14

Dumbnut says...

No Riff Raff wrote:
A lot of people are missing the point re journey times. Why in the later evening do people living in benfleet and beyond have to put up with trains that are only four coaches, one broken toilet and stop at nearly every station! Why no fast services first stop benfleet? We pay the highest fares and get a rubbish service. Back in the 90's there was a 9pm/ 10pm/ 11pm eight coached, basildon, benfleet, then all stations to shoebury. The richest people aren't treated very well by c2c, about time it changed.
Talk about live up to your user name. Quite right, let all the "poor people" get the poor service, eh?
[quote][p][bold]No Riff Raff[/bold] wrote: A lot of people are missing the point re journey times. Why in the later evening do people living in benfleet and beyond have to put up with trains that are only four coaches, one broken toilet and stop at nearly every station! Why no fast services first stop benfleet? We pay the highest fares and get a rubbish service. Back in the 90's there was a 9pm/ 10pm/ 11pm eight coached, basildon, benfleet, then all stations to shoebury. The richest people aren't treated very well by c2c, about time it changed.[/p][/quote]Talk about live up to your user name. Quite right, let all the "poor people" get the poor service, eh? Dumbnut
  • Score: 2

11:59am Mon 2 Jun 14

live in westcliff says...

I agree with Horace Wimpole...The trains years ago only took 39 minutes to Leigh and the 17:00 and 19:00 took 34 minutes! When the new trains were introduced we were PROMISED 10% reduction in journey times because the new trains were capable of faster acceleration times which would mean all journeys to Leigh and chalkwell in under 40 minutes instead all the journeys are much longer and stopping at all stations..

the distance isnt a great deal why cant we have faster journey times again now that we have these better trains and the tracks cld cope with the faster journeys before so why not now...
I agree with Horace Wimpole...The trains years ago only took 39 minutes to Leigh and the 17:00 and 19:00 took 34 minutes! When the new trains were introduced we were PROMISED 10% reduction in journey times because the new trains were capable of faster acceleration times which would mean all journeys to Leigh and chalkwell in under 40 minutes instead all the journeys are much longer and stopping at all stations.. the distance isnt a great deal why cant we have faster journey times again now that we have these better trains and the tracks cld cope with the faster journeys before so why not now... live in westcliff
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Horace Wimpole says...

live in westcliff wrote:
I agree with Horace Wimpole...The trains years ago only took 39 minutes to Leigh and the 17:00 and 19:00 took 34 minutes! When the new trains were introduced we were PROMISED 10% reduction in journey times because the new trains were capable of faster acceleration times which would mean all journeys to Leigh and chalkwell in under 40 minutes instead all the journeys are much longer and stopping at all stations..

the distance isnt a great deal why cant we have faster journey times again now that we have these better trains and the tracks cld cope with the faster journeys before so why not now...
Indeed. Won't happen though… c2c enjoy their year-on-year padded timetables too much, especially when it gains them accolades for being 'most reliable' and 'most punctual' etc.
[quote][p][bold]live in westcliff[/bold] wrote: I agree with Horace Wimpole...The trains years ago only took 39 minutes to Leigh and the 17:00 and 19:00 took 34 minutes! When the new trains were introduced we were PROMISED 10% reduction in journey times because the new trains were capable of faster acceleration times which would mean all journeys to Leigh and chalkwell in under 40 minutes instead all the journeys are much longer and stopping at all stations.. the distance isnt a great deal why cant we have faster journey times again now that we have these better trains and the tracks cld cope with the faster journeys before so why not now...[/p][/quote]Indeed. Won't happen though… c2c enjoy their year-on-year padded timetables too much, especially when it gains them accolades for being 'most reliable' and 'most punctual' etc. Horace Wimpole
  • Score: 0

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