Posted 23rd December 2010 | 3 Comments

c2c extension awarded to National Express

NATIONAL Express has been awarded an extension of up to two years to its c2c franchise.

The announcement will be seen as confirmation that the relationship between NX Group and the Department for Transport has improved considerably since NXG handed back East Coast a year ago.

The failure of East Coast infuriated the transport secretary of the time, Andrew Adonis. It had not been long since National Express had taken over EC from the previous operator, GNER, which had also withdrawn because of financial difficulties.

Lord Adonis made it clear that he would have liked to terminate the other National Express contracts, which are c2c and National Express East Anglia.

But there was disagreement over whether the legal powers existed to do this, and the matter was never tested in court.

The franchise had been due to expire in May, but may now run until 26 May 2013. However, the new contract includes an option for the DfT to terminate it on 8 December 2012.

The DfT, which does not use the name c2c in its announcements, said: ‘This will align with the timescales for re-letting the Essex Thameside franchise on a competitive basis, which will be retendered by 2013 for at least 15 years.’

Dean Finch, who is National Express Group CEO, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the extension.  It is testament to our highly professional team who have made c2c one of the best performing train operators in Britain.

“We are resolute in our commitment to customer service and are determined to continue delivering the highest standards of train service performance, reliability and customer satisfaction.”

The extension has been given in return for commitments to provide additional train services and staffing during the 2012 Olympic Games. There will also be a more frequent service at West Ham, for connections to Canary Wharf, from December 2011, and various station upgrades.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Gary, Norwich, UK

    The Dft want to try travelling on NX East Anglia - what a shambles, the timetable is either a work of fiction, or, if you prefer - an aspiration. I commute to London daily and if one train (out of a possible 10) per week is on time its a wonder to behold.
    They have stripped out the restaurant cars, reduced the previos 15 minute peak service from Norwich to 3 an hour, and installed ticket gates at Norwich which are always understaffed with surly malcontents. And now they get an extension - someone in the DfT needs to get out off their ivory tower and look at the real world!

  • philip russell, carlisle, united kingdom

    I think this is probably deserved because when you consider all the franchises let since privitisation this is possibly the one that achieved the most so far,turning an old fashond outdated slam door railway into the modern efficient top preforming commuter line we see today, other top performers like Chiltern cannot claim as much credit as they benefited greatly from the total route modernisation carried out by British Rail.

  • Shug, Edinburgh, UK

    Interesting that the DfTs policy on extending franchises, seems to be somewhat hit or miss with C2C getting an extenstion, but Virgin being refused one?

    Doesnt seem to be any consistancy in DfT policy on franchising