National Express train operator c2c ran a unique event – a special charter train named the ‘Last Blue Train’ – on Saturday 5 March 2011.
The service was organised to commemorate the end of the distinctive blue livery that has adorned c2c trains since 2002. Over the course of the day the ‘Last Blue Train’ (formed of Class 357227) toured the entire 250 miles of the c2c network – which runs from Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street stations in the city of London, through South Essex to Shoeburyness.
Julian Drury Managing Director of c2c said:
“We have been overwhelmed with the positive response we’ve received to the ‘Last Blue Train’ event. The day went like clock work as we travelled around the entire c2c network, including railway sidings and two depots – places passenger services would never normally travel through. A fantastic time was had by all and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this highly distinctive brand. I’d like to say a very big thank you to all of the c2c staff involved in organising the ‘Last Blue Train’ event.”
The special service was fully-booked almost as soon as it was advertised and what was originally planned as a four carriage train, was doubled in size to eight carriages to meet the exceptional customer demand – with one passenger flying all the way from Sweden to participate.
The charter train left London Fenchurch Street at 09.22 and arrived back at 19.34 – having travelled over every stretch of the c2c network, including the rarely used Bow Junction to Gas Factory junction section of track, between Limehouse and Stratford in East London.
After the last working on Saturday the ‘Last Blue Train’ travelled back to East Ham depot in order to receive its smart new livery, completing the transformation of all 74 Class 357 trains in the c2c fleet to the new white livery, as a further step in the evolution of one of the most successful train operating companies in the country.
Thirty c2c staff were involved in planning and running the memorable day out, as part of which they also auctioned a train name plate to raise funds for the ‘Little Haven’ hospice in Southend.
c2c won the inaugural ‘Golden Whistle’ for the best punctuality amongst all train operators in 2009, with c2c averaging 96.3% – a punctuality record the train operator has since broken.
c2c now holds the UK records for the highest annual punctuality by a franchised train operator at 96.7% and the record for any 4 week period at 98.8%. Customer satisfaction with c2c services, measured in the National Passenger Survey in both spring and autumn 2010 was 91%.