Rail operator Connex's high profile plans for a joint chain of 42 Costcutter railway station c-stores appear to have hit the buffers. Costcutter opened a trial store at Gillingham station in Kent in February, but the site has not yet been branded with the proposed "Connex with Costcutter" fascia. Costcutter sales director David Thompson said the test store had never been a runaway success because it had not been advertised and marketed correctly. He said: "We have been doing surveys on all 42 sites over the last months, only to be told by Connex the project is being put on hold, even before the Gillingham pilot store was properly launched. "We don't want to waste any more time. We are meeting Connex in two weeks to see if we should call it a draw." Connex project manager Olivier Jenoc said: "We have put the project on hold until September ­ it is not core to our business. We will then see if customers are happy with the pilot in Gillingham." He added that Connex needed a more "precise business proposition". "I am going back to France to start a new job with Connex in the next few weeks. Connex's managing director is taking over negotiations with Costcutter," he said. The Gillingham launch fell six months behind schedule after Connex lost its South Central franchise to rival operator Govia, which threw existing plans into chaos. Connex had just begun trials of ticket office/convenience stores with Costcutter at its South Central Cooden Beach station in Sussex, and with Spar at its Leatherhead station when it heard Govia had beaten it to the franchise. Govia has not made any progression on those plans. {{NEWS }}