National Express, which runs the C2C rail service in Essex has captured two contracts to run services in Germany. The company has beaten Germany's biggest transport operator to win the pair of 15 year contracts covering the cities of Cologne and Bonn.
The deal is a rare reversal of the trend that has seen Deutsche Bahn's Arriva division run services in Wales, as well as Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry. It also marks another step in the recovery of the rail arm of National Express, which was stripped of the East Coast mainline in 2009.
Essex have agreed contract extensions with seven first-team players including veterans Graham Napier and Mark Pettini, along with seam bowler Maurice Chambers. Upcoming talents Tom Westley, Tymal Mills, Ben Foakes and Jaik Mickleburgh have also put pen to paper on new deals.
Essex chief executive David East said: "Successful teams flow in cycles and we now have an amazing crop of talented youngsters maturing together.