A TRAIN operator’s bid to end an ongoing row over its new timetable has led to even more changes - which one angry commuter described as a “joke”.

It comes as c2c, which operates services between Southend and London Fenchurch Street, has announced changes to nine peak time trains, due to take effect from Monday, February 27.

It means the 8.09am train from Shoebury will no longer call at Leigh or Benfleet, with the firm advising passengers to take “faster trains with more seats leaving ten mins earlier and ten mins later instead.

The 5.43pm and 6.13pm trains from Fenchurch Street will no longer stop at Laindon in a bid to stop overcrowding, along with the 7.02pm not stopping at Basildon for the same reason.

It has also announced the 7.06pm from Fenchurch Street will now call additionally at West Horndon, Basildon and Pitsea to try and prevent overcrowding.

Greg Chambers, 31, a c2c commuter for 12 years, has hit out at the changes, and says the service is “a joke.”

Mr Chambers, of Clifftown Parade in Southend, believes the amendments show the operator is failing to get full backing for the new timetable, which it introduced in January.

He said: “It’s the same old story year in, year out, a new timetable comes in, but it sees a reduction in peak services. As far as I can see these new metro trains haven’t really given anything extra, yet they are charging people between £6,000 to £7,000 to get to Fenchurch Street each year.

“Compared with the previous timetable, it’s not too bad, but the effect is cumulative, so it has been getting worse year on year. I would say there are about 33 per cent less peak time services.”

The changes come after a backlash to c2c’s timetable, which came into force on January 9, where it sought to take advantage of 24 new carriages added to its fleet. It said extra trains and a new timetable would help address “top priorities for passengers” in different areas, including faster journey times between Southend and London, longer trains between Thurrock and London and more seats at stations in mid-Essex.

Joe Mander, 20, a camera operator, of Gainsborough Road, Canvey, has commuted to and from London for two years on c2c trains, and believes the operator has a difficult job, but admits he prefers the previous timetable. He said: “It does add more journey time to my commute, only by about ten minutes or so, but it all adds up I suppose.

“I do prefer the older timetable as there were more services for me travelling from Benfleet.”

The Echo also reported this week that Trenitalia, the passenger rail transportation company which is part of FS Italiane Group, completed the purchase of 2c from National Express Group via its British subsidiary Trenitalia UK. The deal, approved by the Department for Transport, will see c2c’s franchise continue to run until November 2029.

Visit c2c-online.co.uk/travelling-with-us/timetables-and-trains/new-timetable/