Investment in the c2c line is welcome news, but should have been done ages ago, according to commuters.

c2c, which runs services between London’s Fenchurch Street and Southend, said 60 Aventra carriages will be built at Bombardier’s factory in Derby, adding extra capacity for passengers amid expectations of future growth.

The new fleet will add almost 20 per cent more seats from the summer of 2021, three years earlier than previously planned.

The delivery programme has been accelerated following the acquisition of c2c by Italian rail giant Trenitalia earlier this year.

Each new train will have ten carriages, and will include more than 900 seats, air-conditioning, wi-fi, plug sockets and three toilets.

Each new Aventra carriage will be five metres longer than c2c’s current Class 357 Electrostars, and will provide capacity for 15 per cent more passengers.

Julian Drury, c2c managing director said: “This is excellent news for c2c customers and we’re delighted to have secured such an important long-term deal for local passengers and the local economy.

“We have accelerated our original plans for new trains because of the scale of growth planned in the boom areas of south Essex and east London, and these British-built trains will help ensure c2c is playing its part in unlocking those benefits to the economy.”

But not everyone was as impressed.

Peter Slattery, member of the Southend Rail Travellers’ Association, hailed plans as excellent news for commuters, but insisted they should have been delivered a number of years ago.

Mr Slattery called for this to mark the start of continued investment in the popular train line.

He said: “Its good news that they are putting the investment in, and moving the time scale forward is great.

“They have moved it three years forward, but it is ten years too late.

“It has been a rapidly growing line for a number of years that was drastically in need of improvement.”

He added: “Don’t get me wrong, this is a hugely positive move and is great news that will ease a lot of the over crowding issues.

“But when these trains are delivered in five years, there is a chance the line will still be expanding and c2c are just playing catch up.

“This is very good news for the line, but we need this to mark the start of continued investment to really improve the service.”

Last year c2c introduced 24 new carriages on a short-term contract, and these units will now be extended until the arrival of the new fleet. c2c also remains in discussions for leasing additional carriages from December 2019.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said the announcement was a victory for workers in Derby who had campaigned to secure a future for train building in the UK.