National Express Group has signed a £70m deal to sell its UK’s c2c franchise to Trenitalia , the passenger rail transportation company of FS Italiane Group.

With this acquisition, Trenitalia plans to expand its presence in the UK rail passenger market, in line with the international plans of FS Italiane Group.

Following the acquisition, Trenitalia will retain c2c’s existing management and staff and deliver existing plans for the franchise.

National Express Group CEO Dean Finch said: “From converting c2c into the UK’s consistently best performing franchise, we have also recently pioneered customer service standards with automatic delay compensation and flexi-season tickets, for example.

“Trenitalia has significant rail credentials and is excited by the opportunity to invest in the new agenda set out by the secretary of state.”

The company introduced automatic compensation for registered smartcard customers in the UK for any delay more than two minutes without the need to complete claim forms.

“We see significant chances to invest in UK Rail.”

Trenitalia CEO Barbara Morgante said: “We see significant chances to invest in UK Rail and this in principle agreement with National Express allows us to foster these ambitions.

“We will work closely with customers and local stakeholders to apply our vision and deliver improvements that will be visible and valuable; we are confident that British customers will benefit from our skill and capabilities developed in the highly competitive Italian market.”

The acquisition is subject to final consent from the Department for Transport and is expected to occur within the next three to four weeks.

c2c operates services between Fenchurch Street and Shoeburyness, serving 26 stations in East London and South Essex.

Image: The acquisition of c2c will allow Trenitalia to expand its presence in the UK rail passenger market. Photo: courtesy of National Express Group PLC.