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Cross Country Trains

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Cross Country Trains

This article is about the train operating company in the United Kingdom. For other uses, see Cross Country.
Franchise(s): New Cross Country
11 Nov 2007 - 9 Nov 2019
Main route(s): West Midlands, East Midlands, South West, Yorkshire and the Humber and North East
Other route(s): South East Wales, North West, East of England, South East and Scottish Lowlands
Fleet size:
Stations called at: 119
Stations operated: 0
Passenger km 2007/8: 1,136.6 million
Route km operated: 2,397.9
National Rail abbreviation: XC
Parent company: Arriva UK Trains
Web site:

CrossCountry[1] is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Arriva UK Trains operating the New Cross Country franchise radiating out from Birmingham New Street. It operates the UK's longest direct rail service from Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland to Penzance in Cornwall. It is the only train operating company that does not operate any stations.


In June 2006 the Department for Transport announced its intention to restructure a number of franchises.[2] Included was a New Cross Country franchise that would incorporate the existing InterCity Cross Country franchise run by Virgin Cross Country, less the West Coast Main Line services with the Birmingham to Scotland services transferring to Virgin West Coast and the Manchester to Scotland services transferring to First TransPennine Express. Some services from the Central Trains franchise were to be added.

In October 2006 the Department for Transport issued the Invitation to Tender to the shortlisted bidders, Arriva, First, National Express and Virgin Rail Group.[3] On 10 July 2007 the Department for Transport announced that Arriva had won the New Cross Country franchise with the services operated by Virgin CrossCountry transferring to CrossCountry on 11 November 2007 along with the Cardiff to Nottingham and Birmingham to Stansted Airport services from Central Trains.[4][5]

Originally due to conclude on 31 March 2016, in March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would be extended until 9 November 2019.[6]


The company operates a number of key InterCity routes outside London including the Cross Country Route from the North East to the South West.


The hourly service operates on each basic route:

No Route Rolling stock
1 Plymouth to Edinburgh Waverley (via Leeds) Voyagers & High Speed Trains
2 Reading to Newcastle (via Doncaster) Voyagers
3 Bristol Temple Meads to Manchester Piccadilly Voyagers
4 Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly (via Coventry) Voyagers
5 Cardiff Central to Nottingham Turbostars
6 Birmingham New Street to Leicester and Stansted Airport Turbostars


There are extensions to the basic service pattern:


Typically, during weekday daytimes, each of these six routes sees one CrossCountry train per hour, with the exception of Birmingham to Leicester and Birmingham to Nottingham (which each see two). These services combine to provide higher frequencies on the following sections:

  • Cardiff Central to Nottingham: one train per hour
  • Bristol to Cheltenham: two trains per hour
  • Cheltenham to Birmingham: three trains per hour
  • Reading to Birmingham: two trains per hour (one via Coventry, one via Solihull although not stopping)
  • Birmingham to Derby: four trains per hour
  • Derby to Sheffield: two trains per hour
  • Sheffield to York: two trains per hour (one via Doncaster, one via Leeds)
  • York to Newcastle: two trains per hour
  • Birmingham to Leicester: two trains per hour (of which one per hour carries on to Stansted Airport).
  • Birmingham to Manchester: two trains per hour
  • Birmingham to Nottingham: two trains per hour

Sunday service

Service on Sundays is slightly different from the normal core routes. The routes on Sundays are:

  • Plymouth to Newcastle via Doncaster (some extensions to Penzance and Edinburgh)
  • Bristol to Manchester (some extensions to Paignton)
  • Cardiff Central to Birmingham New Street (some extensions to Nottingham)
  • Birmingham New Street to Nottingham
  • Reading to Newcastle via Doncaster or Leeds (some extensions to Edinburgh, Guildford and Bournemouth)
  • Birmingham New Street to Leicester/Stansted Airport

Services transferred or withdrawn

After taking over the franchise, CrossCountry continued to operate the existing timetable including the West Coast Main Line services for four weeks. When the new timetable commenced on 9 December 2007, the Birmingham to Edinburgh and Glasgow services transferred to Virgin West Coast and the Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow services transferred to First TransPennine Express.[7]

The tender did not require retention of the services beyond Guildford after December 2008, so the services to Gatwick Airport and Brighton ceased.[8][9] As a result, all CrossCountry services now completely avoid Greater London.

Additional services

From December 2008 a daily Nottingham to Bournemouth service was introduced.

From December 2010 a number of services from Newcastle were extended from Reading to Southampton.[10]

From May 2011 a number of services were extended from Edinburgh to Glasgow to replace East Coast services.[11]

Special services

CrossCountry extended some of its Bournemouth services to Weymouth for the Sailing at the 2012 Olympics & Paralympics. There were two services Monday to Saturday in each direction, with one in each direction on Sundays. These ran express to Weymouth from Bournemouth. One train also operated a Weymouth to Bournemouth return journey, calling at Wareham and Poole.[12]

Future services

Plans were included by CrossCountry to reopen a station at Kenilworth. In April 2008 it agreed with Warwickshire Council to draw up a business case.[13]

There is a proposal for a station at Worcester (Norton) Parkway where the Cross Country Route route intersects the Cotswold Line. If built, it will be on two levels, with the low level served by CrossCountry, and the high level by First Great Western.[14]

Stations served only by CrossCountry

CrossCountry does not manage any stations. The following stations are served only by CrossCountry but are managed by East Midlands Trains, London Midland or Greater Anglia:

East Midlands Trains London Midland Greater Anglia
Burton-on-Trent Water Orton Manea
Willington Coleshill Parkway
Hinckley Wilnecote
South Wigston

The high-level platforms at Tamworth are served only by CrossCountry, but are not considered a separate station from the low-level platforms.


Latest performance figures released by NR (Network Rail) for this period (period 5 of 2013/2014) report a PPM of 88.9%[15] and a Moving Annual Average (MAA) up to 17 August 2013 of 87.4%.

Rolling stock

CrossCountry inherited 34 four-carriage Class 220 Voyagers and 40 five-carriage and 4 four-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers from Virgin CrossCountry as well as 11 two-carriage and 18 three-carriage Class 170 Turbostars from Central Trains.[16]

In December 2007 Class 221 Super Voyagers 221101 - 113 and 221142 - 144 were transferred to Virgin West Coast with 221114 - 118 following in December 2008.[17]

A franchise commitment was the acquisition of ten Class 43 Power Cars and forty Mark 3 carriages. Midland Mainline had six Class 43 Power Cars and fourteen Mark 3 carriages that were off lease from November 2007 that were leased. The remaining four Class 43 Power Cars were ex Virgin CrossCountry examples in varying states of decay.[18] while the carriages were five ex Virgin CrossCountry Mark 3 carriages and twenty-one ex Virgin West Coast loco hauled Mark 3B carriages. Most had been in store at Long Marston for a few years.[19]

After driver training the ex Midland Mainline sets returned to service in May 2008 on Glasgow and Edinburgh to Plymouth diagrams while the other Class 43 Power Cars were overhauled at Brush Traction including repowering with MTU 16V4000R41 engines[20][21] and the Mark 3 carriages overhauled at Wabtec, Doncaster to a similar specification as GNER's Mallard refurbishments.[22][23] Once these were completed the ex Midland Mainline examples were also overhauled.[24]

To operate services to Paignton and Newquay on Summer Saturdays two High Speed Trains were hired from National Express East Coast in 2008.[25]

The Class 170 Turbostars were refurbished in 2008 with the three-carriage units repainted at Marcroft Engineering, Stoke on Trent, the two-carriage units at EWS' Toton depot and the interiors done by Transys Projects, Clacton-on-Sea including the fitting of first class seating to the Class 170/5s and 170/6s.[26][27]

The tilt function on Class 221 Super Voyagers 221119 - 141 was disabled in 2008. It was no longer required as tilt was not required on the parts of West Coast Main Line that CrossCountry serve.[28][29] CrossCountry says this change will improve the trains' reliability and reduce maintenance costs.

The Class 220 Voyagers and Class 221 Super Voyagers underwent refurbishment at Bombardier, Derby in 2008/09. This involved removing the shop, adding 25% extra luggage space and fourteen extra standard class seats to the Class 220 Voyagers and 20% extra luggage space and sixteen standard class seats to the Class 221 Super Voyagers.[30] The interiors were given a refresh in 2011/12 with the standard class seats recovered in the existing red and blue moquette and first class done with a maroon moquette.

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 43 High Speed Train Diesel locomotive 125 200 10 1976–1982
Mark 3 Carriage Passenger carriage 125 200 40 1975–1988
Class 170 Turbostar DMU 100 160 29 1999–2002
Class 220 Voyager DEMU 125 200 34 2001
Class 221 Super Voyager 125 200 23 2001

See also


External links

  • CrossCountry official website
  • Arriva corporate website
  • Central Trains Remapping
  • Briefing Document
Preceded by
Central Trains
Central Trains franchise
Operator of New Cross Country franchise
2007 - present
Preceded by
Virgin CrossCountry
InterCity CrossCountry franchise
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