THE new operator of the c2c line will introduce paperless tickets as part of ambitious revamp plans.
Trentitalia, the Italian rail firm which completed the £72.6million purchase of c2c from the National Express Group in February, made the calls following a meeting with Southend West MP Sir David Amess this week.
The deal, formally approved by the Department for Transport, will see the franchise - running between Shoebury and London Fenchurch Street - continue to run until November 2029.
The Gazette understands that the firm is looking to add 36 new carriages – 24 of which will replace existing carriages. Sixteen new carriages are schedule for the end of 2022, with a further 16 arriving by the end of 2024.
Ernesto Sicilia, managing director of Trenitalia UK, said the Italian firm intends to build on c2c’s existing strengths as “one of the UK’s most punctual and popular train operators.” He has ambitions to take over other lines across the country.
He said: “Our priority is customer satisfaction and we will make available to the people of south Essex all our competence and experience developed in Italian railway market where we managed almost 7,000 trains per day used by about 500 million passenger per year.
“The knowledge of customer needs is our primary target and we intend support c2c activities through implementation of some innovative tools. The first area of potential upgrade is the ticket system where we intend introduce our multichannel system focused on digital payment and paperless ticketing.
“We have also started discussion with potential train suppliers to enlarge our fleet in order to offer most capacity to our passengers.
“We are involved also in DfT franchise bid processes and the success of c2c is for us a flagship to present ourselves to the British railways market.”
Speaking after the meeting, Sir David said he is pleased with the plans proposed and has “every faith” that the new operators could deliver promises on “greatly improved services.”
He said: “I was delighted to meet with the managing director of Trenitalia UK to discuss the future of the c2c franchise. Mr Sicilia reassured me that Trenitalia is keen to improve on the current services provided by the railway.
“It was interesting to hear about the plans the new owners have for the franchise and how they intend to implement their ideas.
“I left the meeting having every bit of faith that Mr Sicilia and Trenitalia will deliver on their promises for greatly improved c2c services along the line.”
The operator has faced a backlash over its new timetable, which came into force on January 9. The following month changes were revealed for nine peak time trains.