ITALIAN rail firm Trenitalia have completed the purchase of c2c from National Express Group for £72.6m.
The deal, formally approved by the Department for Transport, will see c2c’s franchise continue to run until November 2029.
In a statement Trenitalia said they intended to build on “c2c’s existing strengths as one of the UK’s most punctual and popular train operators.”
Trenitalia have promised to bring innovative technology, such as advanced ticketing, to the franchise that will aim to provide to c2c customers with an increase in their overall quality of service. c2c will continue to be led by Managing Director Julian Drury and will also maintain the current organisational structure.
This acquisition marks the first step in Trenitalia’s long-term plan to establish a major presence in the UK rail market.
In December 2015, Trenitalia became the first new entrant to be awarded a “Pre-Qualification Questionnaire Passport” by the Department for Transport. Last month Trenitalia announced its participation, in a joint venture with FirstGroup, in bidding for the East Midlands and West Coast Partnership (which will include the HS2 line) rail franchise; due to be awarded in 2018.
Barbara Morgante, CEO of Trenitalia, said: “Under the leadership of Julian Drury, we will continue to focus on delivering the outstanding service that helped make c2c the best performing operator in the UK and we will collaborate with the management to introduce further improvements.
“In addition to the c2c acquisition, our recent participation in the East Midlands and West Coast Partnership bids shows that we are strongly committed to the UK market, and look forward to passengers increasingly benefiting from our experience, competence and ability to innovate.
“I am confident that the good relationship established with the DfT, demonstrated by our recent mutual cooperation during the Change of Control phase, will be strengthened and reinforced over the next years, and be leveraged in future common innovative projects in line with British passengers’ demand.”
c2c Managing Director Julian Drury said: “These are very exciting times for c2c and we look forward to developing new improvements for our passengers by using Trenitalia’s expertise.
“While there won’t be many changes overnight, we will now start to work on some exciting new products and services that will make a real difference to our passengers in the coming months and years.”