ESSEX’S c2c railway line has been sold to the Italian Government.
The train operator announced today that it had been bought out by FS Italiane Group – a subsidiary of state-run Italian railway company Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane.
FS Italiane Group bought c2c for £72.6million.
It has purchased the company from National Express Group and will run it under a subsidiary company called Trenitalia UK – which roughly translates to Italian Train UK.
The Department for Transport has approved the buy-out, which has secured c2c’s franchise on the Shoeburyness to London Fenchurch Street line until November 2029.
A spokesman said Trenitalia planned to ’build on c2c’s existing strengths as one of the UK’s most punctual and popular train operators’.
They added: “The franchise will benefit from Trenitalia’s innovative technology, such as advanced ticketing.”
c2c’s current managing director Julian Drury will remain in place and will ’maintain the current organisational structure’.
A spokesman said: “The acquisition marks the first step in Trenitalia’s long-term plan to establish a major presence in the UK rail market.”
Mr Drury added: “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.”