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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
Route km operated: 2,397.9
National Rail abbreviation: XC
Parent company: Arriva UK Trains

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


  • History 1
  • Routes 2
    • Core 2.1
    • Extensions 2.2
    • Frequency 2.3
    • Sunday service 2.4
    • Services transferred or withdrawn 2.5
    • Additional services 2.6
    • Special services 2.7
    • Future services 2.8
    • Stations served only by CrossCountry 2.9
    • Other Route Information 2.10
  • Performance 3
  • Rolling stock 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


A CrossCountry Voyager on a curve at Langstone Rock in Dawlish

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 CrossCountry, 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 long-term goal of establishing the Cross-Country franchise, since privatisation in 1997, has been to create a franchise specifically responsible for long-distance and high-speed rail routes that bypass London, encouraging it to make quality service on these routes a priority.


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/Glasgow Central (via Sheffield & Leeds) Voyagers & High Speed Trains
2 Reading to Newcastle Central (via Doncaster) Voyagers
3 Bristol Temple Meads to Manchester Piccadilly (via Birmingham New Street and Stoke-on-Trent) Voyagers
4 Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly (via Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent) Voyagers
5 Cardiff Central to Nottingham Turbostars
6 Birmingham New Street to Nottingham (Stopping) Turbostars
7 Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport Turbostars
8 Birmingham New Street to Leicester (Stopping) Turbostars
Route map


There are extensions to the basic service pattern:


Typically, during weekday daytimes, each of these eight 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:

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

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 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 but the following stations are served only by CrossCountry but are managed by another train operating company:

East Midlands Trains London Midland
Burton-on-Trent Water Orton
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. The whole station is therefore managed by the main operator of the low-level platforms, which is London Midland.

Manea was only served by CrossCountry until 2013, when Greater Anglia started running 1 train every two hours at the station in addition to the CrossCountry services there.

Other Route Information

To try and create a more pleasurable traveling experience, CrossCountry has designated 4 stations as alternative changeover stations. Cheltenham Spa, Derby, Leamington Spa and Wolverhampton were selected. The aim here was to make connection times shorter - with the stations selected much smaller. For example, meaning that passengers traveling from Cardiff to Edinburgh could change at Cheltenham Spa instead of Birmingham New Street reducing transfer times - at Cheltenham Spa both trains would arrive and depart from the same platform. This avoids having to change trains at Birmingham New Street, which is a larger, more complex station. These 4 stations are marked on the CrossCountry route map, in yellow.


Latest performance figures released by NR (Network Rail) for this period (period 7 of 2013/2014) report a PPM (Public Performance Measure) of 89.2%[15] and a Moving Annual Average (MAA) up to 12 October 2013 of 87.4%.

Rolling stock

CrossCountry services are operated using diesel trains only, since none of the routes it operates is fully electrified.

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] High Speed Trains were hired from East Coast and East Midlands Trains on a number of occasions to operate services from Edinburgh Waverley to Plymouth when HSTs or Voyagers were unavailable

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 the Class 221 Super Voyagers was removed 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. In summer 2014, CrossCountry began removing the quiet coach designation from such vehicles in its Voyager sets, believing them to be outdated and take up an excessive amount of space on a four-car unit. It is retaining the quiet coaches on its five HST sets.[31]

 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 2000-2001
Class 221 Super Voyager DEMU 125 200 23 2001-2002

See also


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 4402048 XC Trains Limited
  2. ^ New Cross Country Franchise Consultation Document Department for Transport June 2006
  3. ^ New Cross Country Franchise Invitation to Tender Department for Transport October 2006
  4. ^ New rail franchise to increase capacity between major cities Department for Transport Press Release 10 July 2007
  5. ^ Arriva welcomes new CrossCountry rail franchise award Arriva Press Release 10 July 2007
  6. ^ "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  7. ^ "Bristol and Manchester linked every two hours in CrossCountry's December timetable" (PDF) (Press release). CrossCountry. 12 December 2007. 
  8. ^ CrossCountry. "Frequently Asked Questions: How will the timetable change and when?". Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. 
  9. ^ 2008 The End is nigh!
  10. ^ "New Southampton train services" (Press release). CrossCountry. 19 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "East Coast Welcomes Future New Timetable" (Press release). East Coast. 20 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "London 2012 Olympic Games". CrossCountry. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Kenilworth Station stays on track". Warwickshire County Council. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  14. ^ "New county train station is a good idea, says Government". Worcester News. 1 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail. 
  16. ^ Class 170 History Railway UK - UK Railway Information
  17. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 575 26 September 2007 Page 16
  18. ^ Ex Virgin HST Power Car List
  19. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 586 27 February 2008 Page 62
  20. ^ CrossCountry signs deal to overhaul High Speed Trains Arriva Press Release 24 January 2008
  21. ^ MTU fitted Class 43 HST powercars TheRailwayCentre.Com
  22. ^ Deal signed to refurbish high speed train carriages CrossCountry Press Release 22 April 2008
  23. ^ Project Profile HST trailer cars Wabtec Rail
  24. ^ CrossCountry Unveils First Refurbished HST CrossCountry Press Release 1 October 2008
  25. ^ More CrossCountry seats for Holidaymakers CrossCountry Press Release 27 March 2008
  26. ^ Refurbishment of Class 170 Turbostar trains begins CrossCountry Press Release 30 January 2008
  27. ^ CrossCountry's first refurbished Turbostar enters service CrossCountry Press Release 19 May 2008
  28. ^ Miles, Tony (August 2008). "CrossCountry stops tilting". Modern Railways (London). p. 71. 
  29. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 595 2 July 2008 Page 8
  30. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 589 9 April 2008 Page 23
  31. ^ Rail Magazine, Issue 755, 20 August 2014, pp. 60-61.

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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