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Firms challenge c2c over rail line
7:30am Sunday 13th October 2013 in News
RAIL company c2c is facing a challenge from a number of different companies to take over the Shoebury to Fenchurch Street line.
The Government is seeking bids from a range of companies to run Thurrock’s rail line for 15 years from September, next year.
The initial bidding process collapsed last year after a legal wrangle over the West Coast line.
Companies who ran for the contract previously were c2c, FirstGroup, Abellio and the Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation.
Rail operator c2c’s last franchise expired in May, but it was allowed to continue running services in the meantime.
Peter Slattery, chairman of the Southend Rail Travellers’ Federation, said: “It’s open to the four companies that were bidding before and I think c2c has got as good a chance as any of them to win it.
“It was good that c2c carried on running for the time being when the franchise was suspended, because it does quite a good job.
“But it hasn’t been allowed to change the timetable to improve services, so we’d like to see that being allowed again.”
A Government spokesman said: “We are now looking for innovative bids that provide value for money for taxpayers and put passengers right back at the heart of our railways.”
Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge called for a Government guarantee any new company would have to use the up-to-date trains currently used by c2c.
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