National Express retains Essex Thameside franchise

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New trains make up part of a £160 million investment programme promised by National Express after the operator announced that it would continue to operate c2c services around East London and Essex.

Today (June 27), the Department for Transport (DfT) announced its intention to award the new 15-year Essex Thameside franchise to the current operator.

It is the second franchise to be awarded by the department since the entire process was cancelled and reviewed following the collapse of the West Coast competition.

The new franchise will see the operator introduce 17 new trains, free Wi-Fi on stations and platforms and £30 million of station improvements. There are also plans to refurbish the current c2c fleet.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “This deal is all about putting passengers at the heart of our railways. Brand new trains, thousands more seats and millions of pounds invested in stations will mean significantly improved journeys for those passengers who use these services every day.

“It’s further proof that our long-term economic plan is on track with the taxpayer getting more than £2 billion out of this deal.”

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