THURROCK passengers will benefit from thousands of extra seats within the next four years thanks to a £100m+ deal for new trains signed by Trenitalia-owned train operator c2c, manufacturers Bombardier and financiers Porterbrook and agreed with the Department for Transport.
60 carriages of Bombardier’s latest Aventra train will be delivered to c2c from the summer of 2021 – up to three years earlier than previously planned. The new fleet will add nearly 20% more seats and capacity for over 5,000 more passengers to c2c’s current fleet and meet the expected future local passenger growth across south Essex and east London.
The Aventra is one of the fastest-selling trains in the UK rail industry, and these new trains will be manufactured at Bombardier’s factory in Derby. Each new train, which will operate in a fixed set of 10-carriages, will include over 900 seats, plus air-conditioning, wifi, plug sockets and three toilets onboard. Each new carriage is larger and contains more seats than on c2c’s current trains, so each 10-carriage new train provides capacity for 15% more passengers onboard compared to a current 12-carriage c2c train.
The delivery programme for new trains has been accelerated by c2c following its acquisition by Italian rail giants Trenitalia earlier this year. The entire new fleet had been scheduled for a phased delivery until 2024, but will now be entirely delivered by the end of 2021.
c2c Managing Director Julian Drury said: “This is excellent news for c2c customers and we’re delighted to have secured such an important long-term deal for local passengers and the local economy. We have accelerated our original plans for new trains because of the scale of growth planned in the boom areas of south Essex and east London, and these British-built trains will help ensure c2c is playing its part in unlocking those benefits to the economy.”
Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since Victorian times to meet the growing demand for rail travel and improve both journey times and passenger comfort. These British-built Bombardier trains, which are coming into service earlier than planned, will provide much needed extra capacity for thousands of passengers across London and Essex, and also come with facilities such as Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and plug sockets.”
Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation, said, “Our modern Aventra trains are proving ever more popular and this order will help transform the travel experience for c2c passengers and deliver 25% more seats to c2c’s fleet. This important contract win demonstrates Bombardier is the first choice when it comes to delivering high quality, transportation products and services, and value-adding long-term solutions for our customers. It’s yet another endorsement of our workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer, manufacture and service in the UK.”
Mary Grant, CEO for Porterbrook, said: “We are delighted that, through the supply of these new Bombardier Aventra vehicles, Porterbrook will be contributing to an improved service and experience for c2c passengers. This demonstrates Porterbrook’s ongoing commitment to the UK rail industry and our customer Trenatalia. We look forward to supporting our industry partners and continuing to make further significant investments.”
This is the latest in a series of improvements c2c has made to meet growing passenger demand, including new trains and new timetables. Last year c2c introduced 24 new carriages on a short-term contract, and these units will now be extended until the arrival of the new fleet. c2c also remains in discussions for leasing additional carriages from December 2019 until the new trains arrive 18 months later, with an update expected next year.