British train operating company

C2c logo.svg
357014 at Upminster Bridge.JPG
Class 357 Electrostar passing Upminster Bridge
  • London, Tilbury & Southend: 26 May 1996 – 8 November 2014
  • Essex Thameside: 9 November 2014 – 10 November 2029
Main route(s)Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness
Other route(s)
  • to Grays via Rainham
  • to Pitsea via Ockendon
  • to Liverpool Street via Stratford
Fleet size
  • 74 Class 357 Electrostar sets
Stations called at28
Stations operated25
Parent company
  • Prism Rail (1996–2000)
  • National Express (2000–2017)
  • Trenitalia (2017–present)
Reporting markCC
Websitewww.c2c-online.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata
Route map
Route map

Trenitalia c2c Limited,[1] trading as c2c, is an English train operating company owned by Trenitalia that operates the Essex Thameside railway franchise. It manages 25 stations and its trains call at 28. c2c provides commuter services from its London terminus Fenchurch Street and from Liverpool Street to east London and parts of Essex along the London, Tilbury and Southend line.

The company began operating as LTS Rail in May 1996 under the ownership of Prism Rail, which had been awarded the London, Tilbury & Southend railway franchise as part of the privatisation of British Rail. LTS Rail rebranded as c2c in May 2000 and Prism Rail was bought by National Express in July that year. National Express sold c2c to the Italian operator Trenitalia in February 2017.[2]


Class 357 Electrostar at Limehouse station in August 2007 in the original livery

The London, Tilbury & Southend franchise was due to start in February 1996, but after the discovery of ticketing and settlement irregularities within hours of the scheduled handover with the preferred bidder, Enterprise Rail, it was re-tendered.[3][4][5]

In May 1996, the franchise was awarded to Prism Rail by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising for 15 years. It began operating as LTS Rail on 26 May 1996.[6] In May 2000, the business was rebranded as c2c.[7]

In July 2000, c2c was included in the sale of Prism Rail to National Express.[8][9]

The franchise was originally due to conclude on 26 May 2011. In December 2010, the Department for Transport (DfT) granted National Express an extension until 26 May 2013 to allow DfT time to conduct a review of the franchising process.[10] In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 13 September 2014.[11] A further delay saw this extended until 8 November 2014.

On 9 November 2014, National Express was awarded a new 15-year franchise, having successfully tendered against Abellio, FirstGroup and MTR Corporation.[12][13] The new franchise retains the c2c brand, albeit operated through a new legal entity, NXET Trains Limited[1] in lieu of c2c Limited.[14]

In 2003, National Express operated nine UK rail franchises.[15] By February 2012, c2c was its only remaining franchise. In February 2017 National Express sold c2c to Trenitalia.[16][17][18]

c2c was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022 United Kingdom railway strike, which was the first national rail strike in the UK for three decades.[19] Its workers were amongst those who participated in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions.[20]

Branding and marketing

The c2c name could be conceived to represent city to coast or capital to coast, reflecting the nature of the route, or commitment to customers.[21]

The c2c website stated:

The name c2c doesn't mean anything specific. In a sense it can mean anything you want it to. Its uniqueness reflects the young, vibrant character of the people we serve. c2c could stand for coast to capital, or capital to coast. From our point of view, one of the most important things it stands for is commitment to customers.

National Express also referred to the c2c route as City to Coast.[22] c2c used the slogan way2go, but later used the Making travel simpler slogan also used by other National Express companies.


  • v
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c2c route map
Limited services

Fenchurch Street
Liverpool Street
London Underground London Overground Elizabeth line
Docklands Light Railway Limehouse
Stratford London Underground Docklands Light Railway North London Line Elizabeth line
London Underground Docklands Light Railway West Ham
Barking London Underground Gospel Oak to Barking line
Dagenham Dock
Upminster London Underground London Overground
Chafford Hundred
West Horndon
Tilbury Town
East Tilbury
Southend Central
Southend East
Thorpe Bay

c2c operates services on the London, Tilbury and Southend line from London Fenchurch Street to the northern Thames Gateway area of southern Essex, including Grays, Leigh-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea. The main route from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness is 39 miles 40 chains (63.57 km),[23] with a fastest timetabled journey time of 58 minutes[24] giving an average speed of 40.7 mph, although the route can be done in 47 minutes, an average speed of 50 mph.[25] The line has a speed limit of 75 mph (121 km/h), although the Class 357 Electrostar trains are capable of 100 mph (160 km/h).

All stations on the c2c route are managed by the company except West Ham and Stratford, which are managed by London Underground, and Liverpool Street, which is managed by Network Rail.

The typical off-peak service per hour consists of 8 trains arriving and departing Fenchurch Street:

London, Tilbury & Southend Railway
Route tph Calling at
Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Basildon 4
  • West Horndon and Pitsea are served by the same trains.
Fenchurch Street to Southend Central via Ockendon 2
Fenchurch Street to Grays via Rainham 2
Most c2c services operate from Fenchurch Street railway station
Off-peak hourly c2c service map

In the rush hour there are additional services, with a few services to/from London starting/terminating at Laindon, Pitsea and Leigh-on-Sea. In the morning, one peak-time service does not call at West Ham and Limehouse and one calls at West Ham, missing Limehouse. Other than this, all trains call at West Ham and Limehouse. In the evening, all trains call at Limehouse and very few miss out West Ham. This was changed in the new December 2015 timetable.

On Sundays, the non-stopping service to Shoeburyness does not run. Additionally some early-morning and late-evening weekday services to/from Shoeburyness and Grays terminate at Barking via Rainham.

As c2c is mainly a London commuter railway and the typical c2c journey is between 40 and 80 minutes, c2c does not offer first-class seating. Its Class 357s have standard high-density 3+2 seating to meet high demand at peak times; however, 17 trains were converted into a "metro" style with 2+2 seating and grab handles.

London Underground's District line connects with c2c indirectly at Tower Hill (for Fenchurch Street) and directly at West Ham, Barking and Upminster. Tickets are fully interchangeable between the two operators. There are also interchanges at Limehouse and West Ham with Docklands Light Railway and at Barking and Upminster with London Overground.

c2c operates as an express service of the London Underground between West Ham and Upminster, calling at Barking.

Some peak services do not call at West Ham due to signalling limitations.[26] A peak timetable introduced on 11 December 2006, with the aim of improving services for the Thurrock and London Riverside sections of the Thames Gateway,[26] was withdrawn on 8 January 2007 after a campaign by passengers as a result of delays and cancellations that affected other lines on the network.[27][28]

In January 2005 it was announced that an on-train television service would be tried out, and one unit had television installed. In June 2006 the 360 On-Board Television service ran into financial difficulties when c2c's partner in the project, TNCI (UK), ceased trading, and the service was withdrawn. c2c indicated it would restart the roll-out should a suitable partner be found.[29]

In June 2006 it was announced that portable X-ray machines and metal detectors would be randomly placed at stations and carried by officers on trains during summer 2006 to catch people carrying weapons, in a joint operation with Essex Police and British Transport Police, following trials at London Underground stations.[30]

In October 2007 c2c announced that the first coach of each unit would be made a Quiet Zone, where passengers are asked not to use their mobile phones or play music out loud.[31] The Quiet Zone was introduced in early 2008 and is indicated by magenta vinyl stickers on the doors of the coach.[32]

On 1 April 2017, c2c introduced a new on-board WiFi service free to all customers. Also, it has an on-board entertainment service called Vista. c2c has partnered with Now TV to provide free television shows available to stream for c2c passengers.[33]

London terminus

As of December 2015 c2c runs two services an hour at weekends that have been diverted into London Liverpool Street instead of Fenchurch Street to/from Shoeburyness, primarily to serve Westfield Stratford City. These call at Stratford, Barking, then all stations to Shoeburyness via Basildon; additional early-morning and late-evening weekend services terminate at Southend Central and Grays.[34] Also, when engineering work blocks access to Fenchurch Street, all services are diverted into Liverpool Street. This route runs over part of the London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking line; however, trains pass through Woodgrange Park station without stopping.

Future services

Beam Park Station, a new station, will eventually become part of the c2c Network, between Dagenham Dock and Rainham.


Tickets for trains between Fenchurch Street and Upminster are inter-available with London Underground services between Tower Hill and Upminster, at Transport for London fares. All other journeys are priced by c2c. Oyster card pay-as-you-go has been available since 2004 at stations between Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street and Upminster. It was extended to Rainham in 2008[35] and beyond Travelcard Zone 6 to Grays in January 2010.[36] Oyster cards may be purchased or topped up at some c2c stations that are not also London Underground stations, including Chafford Hundred, Grays, and Purfleet.

On 23 September 2019, c2c announced that it would be removing the First to Last staffing at some stations and reducing ticket-office opening hours.[37]

Ticket machines

c2c ticket machines in the Oyster PAYG area have been upgraded so they can read Oyster cards. In September 2019 it was also announced that c2c had invested more than £10 million into a new self service ticketing system with a user-friendly self-service interface developed with Voodoo Park. The interface is completely web-based and can be remotely repaired.[37]

The ticket machines installed in 2019 are from the Italian company Sigma Spa.[38]

Rolling stock

c2c passenger numbers 2011 – 2019 Q2 (rolling 12 month figure)[39][40]

c2c inherited a fleet of Class 302, Class 310 and Class 312s from Network SouthEast. To replace the Class 302s, seventeen Class 317s were hired from West Anglia Great Northern from 1996 until 1999 as Class 357s entered service.[41][42]

A franchise commitment was the replacement of the entire fleet, resulting in c2c ordering a fleet of Class 357 Electrostars.[43][44]

In 2003, c2c became the first train operating company to replace its entire fleet with new trains. In March 2007, after extensive trials, c2c began fitting regenerative braking to its fleet, becoming the first UK train operator to do so.[45] On 3 June 2007, the eve of World Environment Day, one train was given an all-over green vinyl sticker livery with the slogan "All c2c trains are greener now – find out more at – www.c2c-online.co.uk – c2c – the greener way to go" to highlight the completion of the scheme, which the company says has enabled energy savings of up to 20%.[46] In October 2007, c2c announced that it had switched to renewably-generated electricity in all its stations, maintenance facilities and offices in a contract with E.ON UK, said to be the largest of its kind in the transport sector.[47]

With a few Class 357s being out of service at the same time, from late 2006 two Class 321s were hired from Silverlink for three months for weekday peak-hour use between Fenchurch Street and Laindon, and Pitsea via Rainham, to cover for the unavailable units. The Class 321s were used with guards as they were incompatible with the positioning of c2c's Driver Only Operation mirrors.[citation needed]

In June 2009, Bombardier began repainting the Class 357 units.[48] The vinyl wraps carrying the original purplish blue and magenta c2c livery were removed and the units reliveried in white with dark blue doors.[48]

In late 2015 c2c adapted 20% of carriages into a "metro" style. These carriages have 2 seats either side of the aisle (2+2) compared to 3+2 seating. This increased the passenger capacity of these carriages, at the expense of seating capacity, by converting the space of the aisle seat on the "3" side into (more efficient) standing space.

This addressed the issue of the high volumes of passengers using c2c to travel to/from West Ham and Barking, which, with Upminster, are served by the parallel London Underground service. In the evening peak, these passengers can displace those eastbound passengers who use more easterly and less well-served stations.[49]

In early 2016, c2c announced that it would lease additional trains to relieve overcrowding.[50] This led to its leasing six Class 387s for three years from Porterbrook to increase capacity on the busiest services.[51][52] The first entered service in November 2016.[53]

As part of its new franchise, c2c has committed to leasing new trains to cope with rising passenger numbers, which were boosted especially by the opening of the Docklands Light Railway station at West Ham in 2011 and the rise of Canary Wharf as a financial centre.[54]

Current fleet

Family Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Bombardier Electrostar 357 C2C Last Blue Class 357 Railtour 23.jpg EMU 100 161 74 4 C2c Class 357 White.png
Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street ↔ Grays/Southend Central/Shoeburyness 1999–2002

Future fleet

In December 2017, c2c announced an order with Porterbrook for six ten-car Class 720/6 Aventra electric multiple units. The new units are scheduled for delivery between mid and late 2021, meaning they will all be in service three years earlier than the initial planned phased introduction period.[55] The first 720/6 was delivered to C2C on 19 April 2022, and the fleet are due to enter service in 2022.[56]

The order was later changed to 12 5-car units. These new units were planned to replace the allocation of six four-car Class 387 units, which c2c was operating on a short-term lease.

Family Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars Routes operated Built In service
mph km/h
Bombardier Aventra 720/6[57] Vehicles of the United Kingdom 278.jpg EMU 100 161 12 5 Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street ↔ Grays/Southend Central/Shoeburyness 2022[58] 2022 (Planned)[56]

Former Fleet

Below is a table of former units operated by c2c.

Family Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars Routes operated Built Left fleet
mph km/h
Bombardier Electrostar 387/3 Thatcham - c2c 387306 approaching from Newbury.JPG EMU 110 177 6 4 C2c Class 387-3.png
Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street ↔ Grays/Southend Central/Shoeburyness 2016 2022[59]


In late 2015, c2c introduced a new timetable to reflect long-term changes in passenger numbers at stations on the line.[60] c2c was criticised for putting the interests of "one-stop hoppers" (passengers travelling between Barking and West Ham) above those who travel further on the line.[61]


c2c's fleet is maintained at East Ham Depot, although there is also a depot at Shoeburyness.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 7897267 Trenitalia c2c Limited formerly NXET Trains Limited
  2. ^ "Acquisition of c2c by Trenitalia - National Express Group PLC". www.nationalexpressgroup.com. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Office of Passenger Rail Franchising:The award of the first three passenger rail franchises". National Audit Office. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  4. ^ Routledge, Paul (4 February 1996). "Inquiry into ticket fraud stalls rail sell-off". The Independent. London.
  5. ^ Wolmar, Christian (5 February 1996). "Government orders rail fraud inquiry". The Independent. London.
  6. ^ Grimond, Magnus (30 May 1996). "Soaring Prism renews rail sale attack". The Independent. London.
  7. ^ "LTS Rail relaunches as c2c" Rail issue 386 28 June 2000 page 4
  8. ^ Osborne, Alistair (19 July 2000). "National Express buys Prism for £166m". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  9. ^ Harper, Keith (19 July 2000). "National Express buys Prism for £166m". The Guardian. London.
  10. ^ "c2c extension awarded to National Express". Railnews. Stevenage. 23 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  12. ^ "Bidders to oversee improvements on rail franchises announced" (Press release). Department for Transport. 29 March 2012.
  13. ^ "C2c awarded 15-year Essex Thameside rail franchise". BBC News. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  14. ^ Companies House extract company no 2938993 c2c Rail Limited
  15. ^ "Annual Report 2002" (PDF). National Express. 13 March 2003.
  16. ^ "National Express to sell c2c to Italian railways". Railnews. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Acquisition of c2c franchise by Trenitalia" (Press release). National Express. 11 January 2017. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  18. ^ Trenitalia completes c2c acquisition Railway Gazette International 13 February 2017
  19. ^ "Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action". BBC News. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  20. ^ "The dates of the train, Tube and bus strikes this week, and how services will be affected". inews.co.uk. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  21. ^ Track Off. "Railways Today". Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  22. ^ "Unternehmen". National Express Rail GmbH. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  23. ^ Padgett, David (October 2016) [1988]. Brailsford, Martyn (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 2: Eastern (4th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. map 3C. ISBN 978-0-9549866-8-1.
  24. ^ "Train Times" (PDF). c2c. 13 December 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  25. ^ Rail Performance: C2C.
  26. ^ a b "New timetable for c2c begins 11 December". c2c. 9 October 2006. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  27. ^ "Morning and evening weekday peak schedules to return to previous patterns as c2c restores old timetable". c2c. 3 January 2007. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  28. ^ Pritchard, Rob (3 January 2007). "Old c2c timetable back on Monday". Southend Echo. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  29. ^ "TV on Trains – Trials Stopped" (Press release). c2c. 20 June 2006. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  30. ^ "Railway passengers to be scanned". BBC News. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  31. ^ Consumer Deals (29 October 2007). "The Unofficial c2c Rail Info Site". Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  32. ^ "Quiet Zone". c2c. 2008. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  33. ^ "Free onboard WiFi and entertainment - Trains to/from London, Southend & Essex with c2c Rail". www.c2c-online.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  34. ^ c2c online: 13 December 2009 timetable Archived 20 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ "Using Oyster PAYG on c2c". c2c. 2 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  36. ^ "January 2010 Fare Changes" (PDF). Greater London Authority. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  37. ^ a b "c2c consultation on ticket office opening hours | Trains to/from London, Southend & Essex with c2c Rail" (Press release). c2c. 22 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  38. ^ "London – Sigma Spa and Trenitalia C2C Ltd have successfully signed an MSA". Sigma Spa. 3 September 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  39. ^ "ORR passenger numbers by train operating company". ORR.
  40. ^ "Display Report | Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends Portal". Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  41. ^ "Class 317s for LTS" Rail issue 296 15 January 1997 page 9
  42. ^ "No more sliding-door trains for LTS as WAGN keeps last Class 317s" Rail issue 345 2 December 1998 page 13
  43. ^ "Adtranz wins £200 million order for new trains on 'Misery Line'" Rail issue 307 18 June 1997 page 6
  44. ^ "First LTS Electrostar Class 357 delivered: Rail issue 358 2 June 1999 page 45
  45. ^ "c2c takes the lead in energy saving train travel" (Press release). c2c. 3 June 2007. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  46. ^ "Green Credentials". c2c. 4 June 2007. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  47. ^ "c2c switches to renewable energy sources" (Press release). c2c. 2 October 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  48. ^ a b "c2c Commuter News – June 2009" (PDF). c2c. June 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  49. ^ "c2c New trains". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  50. ^ "Package of changes to improve peak services - Trains to/from London, Southend & Essex with c2c Rail". www.c2c-online.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  51. ^ "Brand-new carriages in production in Derby - Trains to/from London, Southend & Essex with c2c Rail". www.c2c-online.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  52. ^ c2c Electrostar EMUs under construction Railway Gazette International 5 July 2016
  53. ^ Essex Thameside EMU tender launched as Class 387s enter service International Railway Journal 16 November 2016
  54. ^ "c2c: The Timetables, They Are A Changin'". 3 February 2016.
  55. ^ Briginshaw, David (14 December 2017). "Britain's c2c franchise orders Aventra EMUs". International Rail Journal. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  56. ^ a b "🎉 Here's a sneaky peak at one of our brand new trains. One has arrived at our depot from the factory today, this 720 will be used for training and will be coming into passenger service later in the year. Keep your eyes peeled, you may just see it out and about!". Twitter. @c2c_Rail. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  57. ^ 720s for c2c Modern Railways issue 857 February 2020 page 84
  58. ^ "60 Class 720s now accepted". Today's Railways UK. No. 243. May 2022. p. 67.
  59. ^ "More '387s' for GTR". Modern Railways. No. August 2022. p. 101.
  60. ^ "Your Questions on the New Timetable Answered". c2c. Archived from the original on 28 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  61. ^ Jones, Philip (17 December 2015). "Commuter outrage shocks c2c boss". Echo. Basildon. Retrieved 21 October 2018.

External links

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Preceded by Operator of London, Tilbury & Southend franchise
Succeeded by
Essex Thameside franchise
Preceded by
London, Tilbury & Southend franchise
Operator of Essex Thameside franchise
2014 – 2029
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