The new timetable, which comes into effect on 9 January, is designed to take full advantage of the 24 new carriages c2c is adding to its fleet. The timetable, which has been developed in cooperation with local passenger groups, is intended to address the top priorities of passengers in different areas:
- Faster journey times between stations in Southend and London, with eight faster peak trains every day
- Longer trains between stations in Thurrock and London, with seven peak-time trains doubled in length to 8-carriages each day
- More seats available at stations in mid-Essex, with morning peak trains starting from Laindon retimed to run at the busiest times and lengthened to 8-carriages, plus extra carriages for passengers at Basildon and Benfleet
This morning, the first eight of c2c’s new carriages operated the 07.43 service from Thorpe Bay. This enabled three other busy peak trains to be extended with extra carriages, adding over 280 more seats on each of those services.
The remaining new carriages will also start running passenger services over the next few weeks, followed by January’s timetable change which will also increase total capacity.
c2c Managing Director Julian Drury said: “Today is a really significant step in our efforts to address the top priorities of our customers in different areas. It’s little over six months since we signed the contract for these new trains, and in that time they have been built and now they have started running in passenger service.
“There will be more changes over the coming weeks as we embed the new trains, so I’d like to thank our passengers for bearing with us during this time. Once this project finishes and January’s timetable change is introduced I hope that most passengers will notice an improvement in their commute.”
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, who joined other VIP guests on the final test run of the first new train on Friday, said: “The existing trains have always been very good but these new trains are a fabulous improvement. I particularly like the way the arm rests and flip-down tables mean you can work or relax during your journey, whichever you choose. The forthcoming faster journey times are very important for local residents and it is excellent news there will now be four trains to London from Shoeburyness in an hour or less.”
Details of the new timetable are available online at: www.c2c-online.co.uk/travelling-with-us/timetables-and-trains/new-timetable-09-january-2017/