Posted 13th April 2016 | 2 Comments

New trains boost to deal with 'unprecedented' demand

SIX extra 4-car units are due to enter service with c2c this year, which the operator says will provide an additional 13,000 peak hour seats.

The 387s are arriving three years ahead of a larger tranche of new trains, and are being leased until 17 4-car sets can be delivered in 2019.

This year's new trains are part of a build of Class 387 Bombardier units which had been ordered by leasing company Porterbrook, and which had been surplus until c2c stepped in to sign a short-term lease for them.

Some Derby-built Class 387s have been in service on Thameslink since early last year, and a further fleet of 29 units is presently coming into use on Gatwick Express to replace the older Class 442s on that route. In the longer term, Thameslink's 387s are expected to be cascaded to Great Western Railway suburban services between London and Oxford.

The new 387s now destined for c2c are due to start running on the London Fenchurch Street routes between October and December this year, subject to the final signing of contracts.
c2c needs more trains to deal with consistent growth in demand over the past few years which has strengthened to 'unprecedented' levels over the past six months, c2c said. When the 387s have arrived to join the present fleet of Class 357 units, c2c will be operating a total of 320 vehicles.

c2c is also changing its timetables again to deal with the increasing demand. c2c managing director Julian Drury said: “Extra carriages are absolutely vital for c2c to meet the surge in demand from passengers who want to travel. This agreement is hugely important, as we will now get new carriages on c2c within six months when they normally take years to be delivered. Combined with the other changes we are making in both the short- and long-term, this is the most significant increase in capacity for c2c passengers for over a decade.

“Thank you to all our passengers for bearing with us while we have been working so hard on getting these new trains. We have heard loud and clear that a number of peak-time services are very busy, and now we will be able to address the issues that our passengers have raised.”

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “I have asked c2c to speed up the process of getting new trains for their customers and it is great to see this happening. This confirms c2c’s well-deserved reputation for customer care.

“These extra carriages will make a huge difference, allowing passengers to benefit from longer trains, more seats and better journeys along the busy c2c routes.”

Earlier this year c2c provided compensation to season ticket holders in cash, to apologise for the disruption they had faced following changes made to timetables in January.

Reader Comments:

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

  • Andrew Gwilt, Basildon Essex

    Thameslink are still continuing to order 60 Class 700/0 8-Car and 55 Class 700/1 12-Car Siemens Desiro City trains (115 Class 700's in total). South West Trains are ordering 30 Class 707 5-Car Siemens Desiro City trains. Virgin Trains East Coast & Great Western Railway are ordering the Hitachi Class 800 & Class 801 IEP's with GWR, Transpennine Express & Hull Trains are ordering the Hitachi Class 802 IEP's. Abellio ScotRail are ordering the new Hitachi Class 385 AT200's. Gatwick Express & GWR are ordering the Bombardier Electrostar Class 387's (27 Class 387/2's for Gatwick Express and 6 Class 387/3's for c2c on a 3 year hired contract and the rest of Class 387/3's for GWR along with 29 Class 387/1's). London Overground are ordering 45 new Bombardier Aventra Class 710's. MTR Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) are ordering 66 new Bombardier Aventra Class 345's. Arriva Northern Trains are ordering the Class 195 DMU and Class 331 EMU built by CAF.

    Other train companies could also order new trains such Abellio Greater Anglia that have had complaints to their Class 321's, Class 317's and Class 90's MK3 rolling stocks that these trains are to remain for 20 years with millions of pounds being spent on those trains that the East of England would miss out on getting new trains despite AGA could be getting at least 20 Class 230's D-Trains DEMU to be used on rural lines in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire as well to be used on the Marks Tey-Sudbury branch line in Essex to replace the Class 153 & Class 156 DMU's to be used on rural lines in Cornwall and Devon with GWR using those trains once the Class 230's are in service in East of England and possibly the Class 230's could also be used on London Midland to be used on Coventry-Nuneaton line and other lines in West Midlands.

    [Well, it's an impressive shopping list, but I fear you have overlooked one vital point. TOCs with franchises do not order trains on their own initiative: all orders are authorised by the Department for Transport and a leasing company (which has to find the capital needed). Franchised passenger operators are government contractors and they rarely own any significant assets. GTR, for example, is taking delivery of 27 Class 387s for Gatwick Express because that is what the DfT has decided. Meanwhile, the Intercity Expresses are now arriving on VTEC as the result of a (controversial) government decision taken a number of years ago. VTEC's job is to manage their introduction into service.--Editor.]

  • Chris Green, Huddersfield

    c2c is probably THE best-performing franchise in the country in respect of customer satisfaction. The franchise lead by example, and franchises across the rail network which disappoint their customers should look at c2c. They might just learn a thing or two on how to give the customer the service that they deserve.