Essex Thameside

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Essex Thameside
Fenchurch Street station (6553644825).jpg
Most franchise services operate from Fenchurch Street in London
Current operatorc2c
Main Route(s)London, Tilbury and Southend Railway
Franchise dates26 May 1996–8 November 2014
9 November 2014 – 10 November 2029
Stations called at28
Stations operated26
Route km operated128.7
Route map

Route map

Essex Thameside is a railway franchise for the provision of passenger services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway in east London and south Essex. It was formed on 26 May 1996, following the privatisation of British Rail and the franchise was originally called London, Tilbury and Southend. The only train operating company on the line to date has been c2c. Following a number of temporary extensions caused by problems with the rail franchising system, c2c was awarded a new 15-year franchise which commenced on 9 November 2014.

As part of an abandoned round of re-franchising, bids were received from the shortlisted parties in September 2012 with a winner expected to be announced in January 2013. In October 2012 the government announced the refranchising process would be put on hold, pending a review of the franchising system and the failures of the InterCity West Coast franchising process.[1] In January 2013 the government announced a revised invitation to tender would be issued in summer 2013 with an interim contract for up to two years to be negotiated with National Express. In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 13 September 2014.[2] A further extension of up to eight weeks became necessary following a delay in awarding the franchise. In June 2014 c2c were awarded a new franchise to commence in November 2014.[3]

In February 2017 National Express sold c2c to Trenitalia.[4][5][6][7]


Initial franchise[edit]

The initial London, Tilbury and Southend franchise was offered to private operators in 1996. It was for the provision of all regular services, and management of 25 stations, from Fenchurch Street along the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line to Shoeburyness, including a loop line via Rainham and a branch line via Ockendon. The franchise was due to commence in February 1996 but because of allegations of ticketing and settlement irregularities with the preferred bidder, Enterprise Rail, was re-tendered.[8][9][10]

In May 1996 the franchise was awarded to Prism Rail by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising for 15 years with an average annual subsidy of £18.4 million and commenced operating as LTS Rail on 26 May 1996.[11] In July 2000 Prism Rail was purchased by National Express.[12][13] An additional stop under the management of London Underground was opened on the route at West Ham in 1999. In 2002 responsibility for managing the main terminal station at Fenchurch Street transferred from the franchisee to Network Rail and in July that year the train operator was rebranded c2c.

1998 renegotiation[edit]

In 1998 the franchise was renegotiated to provide for:[14]

Abandoned 2011 renewal and extension to 2013[edit]

The franchise, now renamed Essex Thameside, was due to be renewed on 29 May 2011 and the consultation process began in 2009.[15] However following the 2010 United Kingdom General Election there was a change of government and the franchise renewal process was delayed so it could be reviewed. On 23 December 2010 the Department for Transport granted National Express an extension until 26 May 2013.[16]

Abandoned 2013 renewal and extension to 2014[edit]

On 29 March 2012 the Department for Transport announced that Abellio, First, MTR and National Express had been shortlisted for the Essex Thameside franchise.[17] On 2 July 2012 the Department for Transport issued the invitation to tender to the shortlisted bidders for a new 15 year franchise.[18] The bids were submitted on 27 September and the successful bidder was expected to be announced in January 2013, but in October 2012 the government halted all onging franchise competitions to allow reviews to take place into the franching process, following the failed InterCity West Coast renewal.[1][19]

In January 2013 the government announced a revised invitation to tender would be issued in summer 2013 with an interim contract for up to two years to be negotiated with National Express.[20] In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 13 September 2014.[2]

2014 renewal[edit]

In September 2013 a revised invitation to tender was issued,[21] with the winner was due to be announced in May 2014 and the new franchise due to start in September 2014.[22] After a delay National Express was announced as the winner with the franchise running from 9 November 2014 until 2029.[3] In February 2017 National Express sold the operating company c2c to Trenitalia.[6]

The minimum train service requirement for the franchise for 07:00-21:59 Monday to Friday and 09:00-19:59 on Saturday is as follows:[23]

  • 8 trains per hour at Fenchurch Street, West Ham and Barking
  • 6 trains per hour at Limehouse
  • 4 trains per hour at Upminster, Grays, Laindon, Basildon, Pitsea, Benfleet, Leigh, Chalkwell, Westcliff, Southend Central
  • 3 trains per hour at Southend East, Thorpe Bay, Shoeburyness
  • 2 trains per hour at Dagenham Dock, Rainham, Purfleet, West Horndon, Ockendon, Chafford Hundred

The train service requirement is met if a service calls at Stratford and Liverpool Street instead of Fenchurch Street and Limehouse.[23]

Responsibility for upkeep of stations is to be transferred from Network Rail to the train operator under the new franchise. The new operator will manage all stations on the route except Liverpool Street (to remain under Network Rail operation), Stratford and West Ham (both TfL). Fenchurch Street will transfer from Network Rail management to the new operator. The operator is required to implement ITSO-compliant smartcard tickets within five years.

The invitation to tender asked for proposals to deliver the following optional schemes:

  • Barking station redevelopment
  • Increased service frequency and extended hours on the route between Grays and London via Dagenham Dock
  • Start of passenger services at a new Beam Park railway station between Dagenham Dock and Rainham


  1. ^ a b "West Coast Main Line franchise competition cancelled". 3 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  3. ^ a b c2c award 15-year Essex Thameside franchise BBC News 27 June 2014
  4. ^ National Express to sell c2c to Italian railways Railnews 11 January 2017
  5. ^ Acquisition of c2c franchise by Trenitalia National Express 11 January 2017
  6. ^ a b "National Express To Sell C2c Franchise To FS Italiane's Trenitalia For £70 Mln" RTT News 11 January 2017
  7. ^ Trenitalia completes c2c acquisition Railway Gazette International 13 February 2017
  8. ^ "Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF): The award of the first three passenger rail franchises". National Audit Office. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  9. ^ Paul Routledge Political Correspondent (1996-02-04). "Inquiry into ticket fraud stalls rail sell-off - News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  10. ^ CHRISTIAN WOLMAR Transport Correspondent (1996-02-05). "Government orders rail fraud inquiry - News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  11. ^ Magnus Grimond (1996-05-30). "Soaring Prism renews rail sale attack - Business - News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  12. ^ Finance (19 July 2000). "National Express buys Prism for £166m". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  13. ^ Keith Harper, transport editor (19 July 2000). "National Express buys Prism for £166m | Business". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  14. ^ "Railways: passenger franchises, Standard Note: SN1343" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  15. ^ "What passengers want from the Essex Thameside rail franchise - a submission from". Passenger Focus. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  16. ^ "c2c extension awarded to National Express". Railnews. 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  17. ^ "Bidders to oversee improvements on rail franchises announced - News - Department for Transport". 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  18. ^ "Essex Thameside franchise: Invitation to tender - Publications - Department for Transport". 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  19. ^ "All franchising on hold as InterCity West Coast award cancelled". Railway Gazette. 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  20. ^ Rail franchising future programme Department for Transport 31 January 2013
  21. ^ Thameslink Essex Thameside Invitation to Tender Department for Transport 26 September 2013
  22. ^ Essex Thameside franchise 2013: invitation to tender
  23. ^ a b "Essex Thameside Train Service Requirement Attachment A" (PDF). 2 July 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.

External links[edit]