Terrible, terrible experience. Completely inflexible with tickets even when the trains were canceled due to weather. A 10 pound charge applies to any changes, even when the weather is preventing you from leaving. Customer service will only answer questions from a scripted list. Website is not functional. Loses your information and does not verify your credit cards correctly. I will never use their service again.
Ten years ago this line was called the misery line, and rightly so. 50yr old trains, late trains, diry stations. But since 2001 the line has been transformed with over 60 brand new Electrostar trains, fitted air conditioning, CCTV, passenger information screens and comfortable seats. Stations have been repainted and modernised. Reliabity has increased to around 90% of trains running ontime or within 5 minutes of their booked arrival time. There are still some problems mainly round overcrowding, as there is a maximum length the trains can run to, as some platforms arent long enough. But with the 2012 Olmiypics main stations are being lenghtened and modernised to cope with the increased demand the games will bring. There are plans to add extra trains in the next 12 months.
If you are travelling from Southend or Shoeberryness c2c is the easy/cheap and reliable way of getting from the country into the heart for the City of London. C2C's London Terminal is Fenchurch Street a stone throw from the Tower of London and Tower Hill Tube station, which has access to the Circle line. And most of Londons main sights.
The last review on there was nearly 8 years ago, so I thought this could use an update for travellers out there
I have been using C2C Trains for nearly 3 years since moving to Essex. I commute daily into London. This currently is a weekly cost of £45.60. It can be very expensive commuting into the smoke, however some people have got it a lot worse than me.
My trains come into the small but perfectly formed station at Fenchurch Street. A 4 platformed station which is managed by C2C as these are the only trains which use this station. Compared to the 18 platformed stations within London, I am very happy with mine. Trains run every 5-10 minutes in peak time and every 20 minutes non peak.
When I started using this service, people would tell me how horrific these trains used to be, always late, dirty, non air conditioned, cramped and well, what we come to expect of our trains these days. A few years ago they had a massive revamp. These trains are between 4 and 12 carriages travelling between Southend and London Fenchurch Street and are air conditioned and have a month on month punctuality rate of between 95-99%
The only instances when these trains are delayed seem to be valid. Adverse weather conditions, when people have been messing about with the overhead cables or a bridge has been unsafe. Within an hour the trains seem to function normally. So if I am ever late, it is at the most within an hour. These trains are a credit to Essex, they are consistent and even though the prices rise every year without fail - including January this year (which we all could have done without) you have no cause to complain as the trains are very well run.
A few months ago at my station the barrier staff were changed. Now most of us are normal law abiding commuters who have season tickets etc. But there were a few (trying to get on the train) who were not. I noticed on several occasions the barrier staff turned a blind eye to youngsters jumping over barriers. I meant to complain, I really did especially when my fares rise because of this. But I forgot and had other things to do. But recently I have noticed new staff, who weren't just going to open the large gate for everyone, they made us all go through the electronic barriers, with them watching, there is at least two staff, three on some occasions and even though this is more time consuming, I can see a difference.
These are the ways that C2C are improving, and you can see it. The platform at my station has also been extended, presumably to take the longer trains (as we have a third platform which terminates there could only take 4 carriages) again more improvements to an excellent service.
Admittedly when I visit my friends on the commuter trains from Liverpool Street or London Bridge I see a massive difference. No seats, filthy un-air-conditioned trains and trains which desperately need to be upgraded.
I think you can see I am really happy with the service and this doesn't change off peak as they are still as reliable if less frequent. I just hope they keep up the good work!
I have been using C2C for just over a year now and I have to say that I am not at all impressed with their service. It takes me about 40-45 minutes to get from my station to Fenchurch Street, butit seems that most of the time it takes longer than that as there are rgular delays, cancellations and all sorts of industrial action going on where this company is concerned. At the start of the year, I must admit, I was fairly happy with the service. Delays out of Fenchurch Street didn't seem to be too bad and there seemed to be only a small amount of cancellations. The problem is that this only lasted for about the first month of the year, and everything has just gone downhill from there. I remember one time, coming home from work, the train stopped between each station for about 10-15 minutes, and by the time I got home I was over an hour late. This gradually happened more and more often (although I have to admit, not for as long as in that instance), and to co-incide with that my trains of a morning were coming in on time with less frequency, meaning that I was late for work on numerous occasions. Another problem that was creeping in was the regular cancellation of trains that had apparently 'broken down' despite the fact that many of those in question are supposedly state-of-the-art machines. This cancellation led to ridculously over-crowded trains (sometimes with over three trains' worth of passengers on them, depending on the number of successive cancellations) that are both short of air (there is pumped-in air and air conditioning on the 'new' C2C trains, but no windows that can be opened) and incredibly hard to move in. Most people in this situation leave the train feeling extremely unwell, but that seems to be of no concern to the staff at C2C, who when you inform them of this, simply remind you that their train 'did get you home'. Oh well, that's a poor quality of s
ervice and unfriendly staff that I've covered so far, but the service level deteriorated once again around the end of June/beginning of July, when C2C suffered the effects of industrail action over their reluctance to place a guard on their 'new' trains and preferring a driver-only scheme. They argued that this was what most rail companies were doing and that it was an approved measure. However the fact was that at that time it wasn't approved, and that all of the other rail companies had reached an agreement with the union and allowed guards on their train, and so they were the only company to face this industrial action (which was basically a number of strikes and a continued refusal to work overtime). This, to my mind simply spelt out a wish to save money by no longer having the guards, but at the same time, it meant an extremely reduced service on trains to and from Fenchurch Street (for me, even at peak time this meant that there were only two trains to and from my station and that travelling out of peak hours was even worse- even then, some of those trains were still cancelled, and I have on a couple of occasions waited at Fenchurch Street for an hour or so when trying to get home of an evening). This action went on for a couple of months, and then, at the start of October, there were some letters on the seats of the trains, and at the station itself from C2C, telling passengers that although industrial action had eased off a little, they are not yet running a normal time-table as they feel they could be hit by unexpected industrial action that could damage the service more (is that possible, I wonder). So they were basically reducing the number of trains, not to save money on paying overtime, but for the love of their passengers. How caring. Finally on October 21st, peak-time train services began running normally again (and to be fair to C2C, the majority of those that I have needed to catch have been on time), howe
ver those wishing to get into work out of peak-time still have only one train an hour to catch, and even then, they have to change to a connectinmg train at Upminster (at least you do if you're on the Tilbury-line, as I am). I have had to do this on occassion, and while the train gets you to Upminster on time, it's not been unknown for the connecting train to be canceled, meaning that you have to wait another hour to get the next one which takes you to London (or the other way if you're heading home). After going-on about the poor service for a while now, I would also like to make a point about the trains themselves. C2C runs two different types of train. They run their 'new' trains, with electronic doors, and displays telling you the next station, and on the whole, apart from the window problem I mentioned earlier, they are very nice. They are clean, there is a fair amount of space (so if the trains actually run on time you could be quite comfortable), and the toilets are mostly clean and in working order from my experience. However, because C2C are still experiencing problems with these 'new' trains, customers still regularly have to travel on trains with slam-doors that are over 15 years old (at least), with seats that are covered in grafitti, and often slashed open, making the journey to work unpleasant and uncomfortable. I also find that the toilets on these trains, are for the most part either all 'out-of-order' or in a sickeningly dirty state, making them virtually impossible to use anyway. This, I feel is unacceptable and must be remedied in the near future if they persist in using these trains. Another problem with my C2C station (Tilbury Town) is a lack of access for the disabled and elderly. While there are acceptable facilities that let you onto the platform, and a disabled toilet on the station, there is no access at all for any disabled person wishing to cross to the oppos
ite platform which takes you towards London. I can only imagine how hard it is for any diabled person wising to get across to the opposite platform, as the only access routes to it are a high walkway that goes over the top of the track and involves climbing a total of 30+ steps, or alternatively, you could make your way around the track, which means travelling approximately half a mile to get there. I find it ridiculous that C2C can spend money on fitting computerised screens and modernised signs in the station, but can't invest in disabled access to the opposite platform. So, overall, I am none too impressed with C2C. Although their peak-time trains now seem to be running fine, with little disruption, it remains to be seen how long for, and to travel on their trains is often still an unpleasant experience, particularly out of peak time. This is unacceptable really, especially when it's considered that the prices are very high. However, their new trains seak to remedy this, and maybe, just maybe, that positive can be the foundation that can springboard them to improvement in the coming year. I am sure that I'm not the only commuter that feels this way. **Update** Since I first drafted this opinion a few months ago all of the industrial action that caused delays to both peak and off-peak services has ended, and the trains seem to be running much more on time and much more reliably. In fact in the many journeys I have made by C2C rail this year, I have suffered only two very slight delays, and as-of-yet have not been the victim of many cancellations. I also know of many people who feel the same way about the actual running of the trains, so for that, I will give C2C another star in my overall rating. However, that I am afraid is all I am going to give it. The standards of the toilets on the relatively clean new trains has began to deteriorate to the low and unhygenic standard that I mentioned e
arlier in this opinion, however if you get to witness this you would be one of the few fortunate one that are able to find a train with a toilet that is actually operational. I have travelled back and forward to London a total of ten times in the past two weeks, and only on three of those journeys, was a toilet actually operational, the rest of the time it was 'out of order'. 'Why don't you go to the toilet at the station?' I hear you say, and that brings me nicely onto my next point. Whilst the larger train stations on my route, such as Upminster and Fenchurch Street have toilet facilities that cater for more than one person, many of the other stations have only one toilet (and often that is designated for disabled use only, despite the fact that at my two nearest stations, the disabled toilet is on the side of the track which disabled people find it difficult to get access to). Now, despite the fact that these toilets are intended as being only for disabled use, most C2C stations have the policy of leaving them free for all to use, but have in place a policy whereby you have to ask the customer service assistant for a key to open them as they are left permanently locked. This is a policy which I happen to agree with, as it makes vandalising the toilets more difficult and allows the staff at the station to identify those responsible and so protects against the station toilets degenerating into the filthy mess that the on-train toilets have become. However, what I do not agree with is when staff at the station, for no good reason, other than apparently being too lazy to walk over to the cupboard containing the key (a mere two steps from their 'service window'), refuse to hand it over insisting that they don't have it (two staff in particular at my local station seem to do this regularly, and on the two occasions it has happened to me, I have been present at the station, when somebo
dy else has already used the toilet and handed the key back to them) and that you should use the on-train toilets, despite the fact that there are more than a couple of reasons that you can't do this. In my eyes, this is an extremely lacklustre form of customer service, and seems to me a way of ensuring that C2C and their staff make your journey as uncomfortable as possible. Other than that major deterioration, everything else with C2C is much the same, in other words- in need of much improvement. Two-stars only, I'm afraid.
c2c Rail, previously known as the LTS or 'Misery Line', is well on track to becoming a quality user-friendly railway that people may actually want to use. At present, they are at last beginning to roll out the new fleet of Electorstar trains. These are very clean, quiet, at kept at just the right temperature thanks to air conditioning. They even have tables on some seats! c2c is exceptionally good value for off-peak travel, especially for days out to Southend or London. Tickets such as the Family Ranger allow adults 1days unlimited travel for £5, and kids at £1 each. Groupsave (4 for 2) and flexitime for the later-rising commuters are also good value. May I recommend the money off vouchers. There is currently one for Southend, with offers like BOGOF on Adventure Island day passes, which makes a great day for kids out even better. On the negative side they need to sort out their RMT grievances which can delay services for days. Also general punctuality of peak services needs improving and less cancellations or short formations. Now they have them they need to keep their new trains clean and free from damage, and stop those wasters from etching into the glass. But security guards at night at stations should aid this. All in all, one of the better rail services in the South East
I have been using the C2C service for over a year now since I moved jobs to London. I travel from Barking to Fenchurch Street and can get almost all of the trains that run the line, I can get all of them if I want to try out train surfing as it passes at 50mph. But all there seems to be is delays. The last couple of months have seen industrial action that only affects the C2C service, so what do they do, stop any trains stopping at Barking, Upminster, West Ham and Limehouse during peak hours. What do I have to do, try the underground....but there are signal problems at Barking and they get too crowded, or drive to a station on a different line and pay to park my car. What is their problem? Talks have broken down and I am still none the wiser as to what they are arguing about and why they haven't resolved it like other train networks. In addition to this are the new trains. A majority of the trains on this line are the old ones, with the manual throw them open doors. I admit that these are a hazard for people trying to get on and off when the train is moving, potentially knocking someone out on the platform with the door. They do not have air coinditioning, but do have heating. This is a nightmare in the summer (ha ha) when the trains are packed with people and they have forgotten to turn the heating off. But if you are near a window great. The new trains have the automatic doors, air conditioning, moulded seats so you know how many people should be sitting there. They are smoother and quieter. But I like the old trains!!!!! You are mad I hear people cry, but I have what I think is a good reason. Getting on at Barking there are only a couple of stops to Fenchurch Street where the train terminates and so most if not all the seats are taken and people are standing. The old trains have about 6 doors along the side of the carriage and so people can spread out more when standing. The new trains have two doors and where do
people satnd, in the area just inside them so that no other bugger can get on. There is plenty of room along the carriage, in the aisle, but people are worried that they will not be able to get out and so take two steps onto the train and stop. MOVE DOWN, people will let you off, but there is no room for people to get on. You stand on the platform in the morning with people pushing and squeezing into these spaces like contortionist. When the doors close it looks like people have been pickled in a jar, limbs everywhere, faces squashed against windows. All this to get to the office, how stressful is that. I am lucky and work Flexi so I have let five trains go before and then was still slightly squashed. So please, get more trains, more frequent comfortable trains so that you are not on your second shower of the day by the time you reach the office. ============================================ (01/08/2001) C2C are going full steam (maybe that would be quicker) towards the "We don't really know what we are doing award". Over the last week a number of trains have been delayed some for over 15 minutes. C2C have also got into the habit of providing extra seating at terminating stations - how nice. They let you sit on the train for ten minutes before they decide that they are canceling it. But the "I haven't got a clue award goes to one announcer".....The #.## has been cancelled due to lack of rolling stock. Ten minutes later, the #.## has been cancelled due to their being no train crew, another instance of 1 + 1 = No train. Can they please get someone with a mere ounce of common sense and stop treating the public as if they were idiots.
I think it was 1997 when I was first promised new trains on c2c. If my memory is correct they were due for the spring of 1998 and were late even then. On my own particular branch of the line I am still waiting for them. During this periord the company changed its name (possibly due to embarisment)this means that the trains are now in the wrong colours! The electrostars have a number of technical problems including software faults (causing the train to lose powere or start talking rubbish) Even now, when we do see a train that is actualy moveing we find an engeneer must be present in case the doors jam. I also notice that the photograph provided for this topic with the shiny new trains does not seem to be from any c2c station that I recognise. The colur scheme is different too.
Any c2c rail user who had a problem with service on the 30th October 2000 should note that C2c are compensating ticket holders for the poor service on that particular day. Staff at Fenchurch Street were distributing a leaflet called "Customer Compensation Package" today (28/11/00), that contains a form to claim back the following: Annual and Monthly season tickets: 1 day refund (Cheque or season ticket extension) Weekly and Daily tickets: 20% refund (for a 1+ hour delay), or 40% (for a 2+ hour delay) To claim , you need to send the completed form either with the original ticket, or a copy of your season ticket, to the following address: WAGN/c2c Compensation Claims FREEPOST (SCE11961) MELKSHAM SN12 6ZD The leaflet quotes the following telephone number for enquiries: 08700-000125 (from 04 December)