New Carriages and May Timetable
Today (13/04/16) we have very good news: we have reached agreement with the Department for Transport on a deal for 24 brand-new additional carriages for c2c and they will be entering service this year – three years sooner than previously planned.
These 24 new carriages will enable us to run 13,000 extra seats at peak times every week. They are being built at Britain’s largest train factory in Derby, and you will start seeing them in service from October as they roll off the production line. All 24 extra carriages will be in service by the end of the year.
The new trains, which will be subject to the final signing of contracts, will increase the total size of our fleet to 320 carriages. They are absolutely vital to meet the surge of demand we have seen from increasing numbers of passengers who want to travel.
The level of growth in the past six months has been unprecedented, with around 8% more passengers now travelling into London during the morning peak. This compares to recent growth levels of 5% over an entire year. Most of these new passengers are travelling from our stations in Essex, around 2,000 extra people each peak. You will have seen the result of this in busier car parks and ticket offices. So the best solution to help more people get to where they want to go to is to provide extra carriages.
As the carriages first arrive, we will use them to lengthen the busiest peak services across the route. Once all 24 new carriages are in service, we will make changes to the timetable in December that take full advantage of the extra capacity and flexibility that these trains provide us with. We will make sure the benefits of this extra capacity are felt across the entire c2c route.
In the meantime, we are also making alterations to the current timetable from Sunday 15 May. You can read a full list of the alterations here. Some evening services are being combined, to provide longer trains and reduce the number of four-carriage services at peak times. We are changing the stopping pattern of a number of other services, to relieve the existing overcrowding on some trains. While this will reduce the total number of peak-time services at Barking for example, there is still a significant increase in the total number of peak services at the station over the past six months.
The new carriages we have announced today will be leased for three years, until 2019. From 2019, they will be replaced by the existing plans we have for 68 new carriages on the route. We have now started the formal procurement process for the first trains in this new fleet, and we hope to appoint a manufacturer this summer.
This is the most significant increase in capacity on c2c for over a decade. Thank you to you all for bearing with us while we have been working so hard on getting these new trains. We really have heard loud and clear that a number of peak-time services are very busy, and now we have the right solution for these issues that you have raised.
Managing Director, c2c