TRAIN operator c2c will maintain control of the Shoebury to Fenchurch Street line for the next two years.

The Essex Thameside franchise was put out to tender last year, receiving bids from three alternative companies.

This sparked fears that older trains could be brought back into use and take commuters back to the 1990s - when it was dubbed “the misery line”.

National Express operator c2c has now been given a two year reprieve after the Department for Transport suspended the bidding competition.

Existing short-listed companies will be invited to start the process again over the summer, with the new 15 year contract set to start from 2015.