National Express successfully retains Essex Thameside franchise
Welcoming today's announcement from the Department for Transport ('DfT'), National Express Group ('National Express' or 'the Group') is delighted that it has successfully retained the Essex Thameside franchise. National Express, which currently operates the line as c2c, will continue to run the service from 9 November 2014 until 2029.
Under National Express the c2c service has radically improved from the 'Misery Line' into the most punctual train operator in the UK. In the new 15 year franchise c2c will be transformed again, with new trains, extra services and a ground-breaking Personal Performance Promise at the heart of a Passenger Charter that will put it at the forefront of international standards of customer service.
- New and refurbished trains: 68 new additional carriages and a significant upgrade to the existing fleet
- Extra services: An extra 438 services into and out of London every week from December 2015, delivering 20% additional trains on a weekday and over 21% more at the weekend. By the end of the franchise there will be 25,000 additional seats serving London in the morning peak every week
- Ground-breaking performance commitment: a revolutionary Personal Performance Promise that will provide automatic compensation for delays over 2 minutes for registered users
- A new Passenger Charter: guaranteeing excellent customer services, including a right to be sold the cheapest ticket, detailed personalised travel information and service performance reports and a commitment that every station will be staffed from the first train until the last service
- New tickets to meet customer demand: including new smartcards, flexible season tickets, carnets, new discounted advanced fares and new discounts for senior and local student travel
- Station investment: £33 million investment in stations, including making c2c the first fully accessible UK rail franchise and installing free to use Wi-Fi providing seamless coverage on board and at the station
Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive, said: "I am delighted that we will continue to serve the people of East London and South Essex for another 15 years. National Express is very proud of our record on c2c, transforming it from the 'Misery Line' into consistently the best performing railway in the country.
"We have listened to our customers and local stakeholders and we have challenged ourselves to be at the forefront of innovation. We have identified where to invest to enable c2c to be truly tailored to meet customers' needs and to pioneer new levels of service not seen in UK rail.
"We believe our ambitious plans will transform the franchise again. We will introduce more services, new trains and a ground-breaking Personal Performance Promise. Our ambition is for c2c to stay at the forefront of reliability and punctuality but also set new standards for customer service. Today's announcement is good news for passengers, taxpayers and shareholders alike."
Service enhancements for Customers
More trains, more services, more London destinations
- From December 2015, a new timetable will add 20% more trains each weekday and 38% more capacity during each morning peak into Fenchurch Street.
- During the high peaks, all London-bound trains (morning) and trains leaving London (evening) will call at the key interchange stations of Barking, West Ham and Limehouse. These stations will also benefit from a 'metro service' running between Upminster and Fenchurch Street at 3 minute intervals during these high peaks, enhancing service levels and expanding capacity on the most heavily-used section of the line.
- Our current popular train fleet will be refurbished and upgraded through a significant investment programme.
- We will procure 68 brand new carriages, increasing capacity by over 4,500 extra seats a day to accommodate future growth in commuting. These will be introduced from 2019 onwards.
- Our new timetable will include plans to serve new London destinations, with a quarter of weekend trains calling at Stratford for access to Westfield shopping centre and on to Liverpool Street, offering new connections.
- By the end of the franchise there will be 25,000 additional seats serving London in the morning peak every week.
Ground-breaking Passenger's Charter
- New automatic compensation for registered smartcard customers for any delay over 2 minutes without the need to complete claim forms.
- Registered customers will also receive personalised performance reports showing which services they have used and the punctuality c2c has delivered on those journeys.
- Passengers given a new right to be sold the cheapest ticket for any c2c journey and compensation if they are not.
- Staffing at every station from the first train until the last service. Security also boosted by a renewal and expansion of CCTV across the network.
New tickets meeting customer demand
- Smart ticketing across the route from day one, with route-wide contactless payment rolled out in 2017.
- A trial of a new flexi-monthly season ticket that will provide money back if journeys are made outside of the peak or if the ticket isn't used on some days.
- Carnets of 10 return journeys will provide a flexible travel option for local residents and businesses
- Discounted seniors and local student fares introduced
- New discounted advanced fares to encourage greater off peak travel.
Technology revolution for passengers
- New hi-quality free to use Wi-Fi to give a seamless service between station and train.
- Live, personalised information direct to customers via new mobile 'c2c Live' app.
- Personalised purchasing online and at new and improved ticket machines.
- Up to £250,000 annual fund for future innovations.
£33 million investment in a three-year station improvement programme
- All stations improved to our 'Smart Station' standard - safe, modern, easy-to-use and offering more services.
- £5.3 million redevelopment of Barking station.
- £1.7 million to transform facilities at Fenchurch Street station.
- Upgrades at all stations to ensure c2c becomes the UK's first fully-accessible franchise.
Local partnerships to improve services
- A new alliance with Network Rail to reduce running costs and deliver Right Time operational performance for all stations. The alliance includes a commitment from National Express to help finance a joint plan to improve line speeds to reduce journey times further.
- Partnership with British Transport Police to provide more officers on the railway, combined with new CCTV control centre and improved system of cameras to boost security.
- Working with local authorities to help develop integration with smartcards on local bus routes.
- £1 million investment in energy efficiency to reduce energy consumption at stations and depots by at least 25%.
- £750,000 annual fund for improvements decided by local stakeholders.
- National Express will make around £1.5 billion of payments to the Department for Transport over the life of the franchise. Based on DfT methodology, the net present value (NPV) of the franchise payments is estimated to be £1.1 billion.*
New franchise capital requirements and guarantees
- National Express will support c2c's commitments by providing parent company guarantees for both capital expenditure funding and liquidity funding. External bonds will cover 50% of liquidity funding and a £6 million performance bond, together with the usual season ticket bonding.
*based on DfT discount rate of 3.5% in real terms
National Express Group PLC
Stuart Morgan, Head of Investor Relations 07770 701797
Anthony Vigor, Director of Policy and External Affairs 07767 425822
Andy Donald, Maitland 020 7379 5151
Notes to editors
All monetary figures stated are in 2014/15 prices unless otherwise stated
c2c operates services between Fenchurch Street and Shoeburyness, serving 26 stations in East London and South Essex.
c2c is delivering the best performance in the UK rail industry, holding the UK records for annual punctuality (97.5%) and 4-weekly punctuality (98.8%) by a franchised train operator.
c2c has been named London's best commuter operator in the Which? magazine's survey of rail companies.
About National Express Group
More than 800m journeys a year are made worldwide on our train, bus, light rail and express coach operations. We operate services in the UK, North America, Spain, Germany and Morocco. We employ 42,000 employees.