Train operator c2c recently celebrated its new Class 720 trains entering passenger service with a surprise tribute to former Managing Director, Julian Drury.
The new British-built trains are designed to increase capacity across the route, improving the experience for customers travelling between London and South East Essex.
The new five-carriage 720 units can be used as five carriage trains or coupled together to form ten-carriage trains, are longer with more seats and boast the addition of power and USB sockets at every seat, improved Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The units also benefit from open gangways, which are designed to make it easier for customers to walk between carriages and have improved accessibility features as well as toilets on every train and dedicated cycle spaces.
As part of the introduction of the new fleet of trains, c2c colleagues came together to see one of the new Class 720s pull in at London Fenchurch Street station. The occasion was also attended by c2c's former Managing Director Julian Drury, who retired in 2020 after 12 years of service and was overwhelmed to see the 720 unit had been named after him.
Drury said: "I was very surprised to arrive this morning to find my name on the first of the 720s; I feel tremendously honoured.
"This is a very important step for c2c and its customers. The trains look stunning and are the best fleet that I've seen in the UK; it's wonderful that we've got them here to serve our South Essex customers."
c2c's managing director, Rob Mullen, said: "It was a fantastic day for c2c and we're so pleased to have brought in our new Class 720's, which our customers will see the real benefit of.
"Everyone has played a part in making sure these trains are in service, and of course we give our thanks to Porterbrook and Alstom, our partners, the Department for Transport and Network Rail for making this happen," he added.
Alstom UK & Ireland managing director, Nick Crossfield, said: "We're delighted that the new fleet of Class 720 Aventra trains, which were designed and built in Derby, are now being introduced into passenger service. Working in partnership with c2c, we've delivered a fantastic product which will provide c2c passengers with a next generation, reliable, modern and comfortable train."
Porterbrook's chief operating officer, Ben Ackroyd, said: "We're pleased to have worked with c2c and Alstom to deliver the new Aventra units that will serve c2c's passengers well for many years to come. Attending the launch event, it was good to see so many great reactions from c2c's customers and staff. Congratulations to everyone involved in reaching this important milestone."
New trains named after former MD
The naming of one of the new trains after Julian Drury was a surprise to him, but it was a fitting tribute to his 12 years of service at c2c. During his time as MD, he oversaw a significant improvement in the railway, including the introduction of new trains, improved stations and better customer service.
Drury was also a passionate advocate for the role of rail in the South East Essex community. He worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of rail travel and to make the railway more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Photo Credit: c2c