CrossCountry (legal name XC Trains Limited) is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Arriva UK Trains, operating the New Cross Country franchise. It operates many intercity and other long-distance trains in the UK which do not serve Greater London, including the UK's longest direct rail service from Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland to Penzance in Cornwall, in the south-west of England. It is one of only two franchised train operating companies that does not operate any stations, the other being the Caledonian Sleeper. All routes call at or terminate at Birmingham New Street.
|Franchise(s)||New Cross Country
11 November 2007 - December 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|
|Stations called at||119|
|Route km operated||2,397.9|
|National Rail abbreviation||XC|
|Parent company||Arriva UK Trains|
In June 2006 the Department for Transport announced its intention to restructure a number of franchises. 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, FirstGroup, National Express and Virgin Rail Group. 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.
Transfer and withdrawal of servicesEdit
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 Trains West Coast and the Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow services transferred to First TransPennine Express.
The tender did not require retention of the services beyond Guildford after December 2008, so the services to Gatwick Airport and Brighton ceased. As a result, all CrossCountry services now completely avoid Greater London.
Extension of the franchiseEdit
Originally due to conclude on 31 March 2016, the franchise has been extended until December 2019. The Invitation to Tender will be issued in October 2018 and the contract will be awarded in August 2019.
In November and December 2017, CrossCountry on-board train managers and senior conductors affiliated with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) staged five 24-hour and two 48-hour strikes in an industrial dispute regarding staff rostering, in particular in relation to working on Sundays. Further strikes were planned for January 2018, however, these were cancelled after CrossCountry and the RMT came to an agreement over staff working conditions on 11 January.
Separate strike action was later threatened by the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) union later that month, with strikes planned for 26 January. These were in relation to CrossCountry staff being offered a 1% pay rise, compared to a 3.3% pay rise for staff at other Arriva-owned train operating companies. The planned industrial action by the TSSA was later cancelled, after CrossCountry agreed to match their demands for an equal pay rise.
The company operates medium- and long-distance services that run outside of the London area. The network is centred at Birmingham, and all routes either terminate or pass through Birmingham New Street station. Services can be categorised into two types:
- Inter-City: long-distance, fast services between the South West of England and the North of England or Scotland via Birmingham; these routes are typically operated by Voyagers or HST sets;
- Regional: medium-distance, stopping or semi-fast services between Birmingham and other cities in the Midlands, as well as some longer runs to Wales and West Anglia. These are usually operated by Turbostars.
CrossCountry's official website does show a distinction between the two types of services (for example, each one has a separate timetable booklet), but does not explicitly call them Inter-City and Regional.
These services combine to provide higher frequencies on the following sections:
- Birmingham to Bristol: two trains per hour
- Birmingham to Leicester: two trains per hour
- Birmingham to Manchester: two trains per hour
- Birmingham to Newcastle: two trains per hour (one via Doncaster, one via Leeds)
- Cheltenham to Birmingham: three trains per hour
- Reading to Birmingham: two trains per hour (including one via Coventry)
- Birmingham to Derby: four trains per hour
The Sunday service is mostly similar to the weekday service, except that the hourly Birmingham - Nottingham services do not run, while the other services do not start until late morning or early afternoon, and often have a slightly different stopping pattern.
The above table shows the basic service pattern; however, a small number of these services are extended beyond their usual destination:
- from Plymouth to Penzance;
- from Bristol Temple Meads to Cardiff Central, Bath Spa, Exeter St Davids, Paignton, Plymouth and Penzance, as well as Newquay on summer weekends;
- from Reading to Guildford;
- from Edinburgh Waverley to Dundee and Aberdeen;
- from Newcastle to Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central;
- via Crewe either in lieu of, or in addition to Stoke-on-Trent.
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.
CrossCountry's current (June 2017) consultation document proposes several improvements to the timetable in December 2017. These include:
- Extending all hourly Bristol–Manchester services to and from Exeter St Davids, providing a total of two trains per hour between Exeter and Birmingham;
- Increasing the frequency of services during peak times on several routes;
- An additional service to and from Aberdeen running in the early afternoon.
To allow these changes to take place, all CrossCountry services on some routes (which currently have a limited service) would be withdrawn and replaced with extra services run by other operators. These include:
- between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa, replaced by a GWR service;
- between Exeter St Davids and Paignton (except for one early-morning northbound service), replaced by GWR services;
- between Reading and Guildford, replaced by GWR services;
- between Edinburgh Waverley and Aberdeen in the morning and evening (Aberdeen would be served during the day instead), replaced by ScotRail services.[e]
In April 2017, it was announced that the morning and evening services to and from Aberdeen are no longer threatened with withdrawal, after it was revealed that ScotRail would not be able to provide the replacement services.
There is a proposal for a station at Worcester (Norton) Parkway where the Cross Country 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 Great Western Railway.
Stations served only by CrossCountryEdit
CrossCountry does not manage any stations. The following stations are served only by CrossCountry but are managed by another train operating company:
|East Midlands Trains||West Midlands Trains|
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 West Midlands Trains.
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 informationEdit
To try and create a more pleasurable travelling experience, CrossCountry has designated four 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 being much smaller. For example, passengers travelling 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 four stations are marked on the CrossCountry route map, in yellow.
This section needs to be updated.(November 2017)
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% and a Moving Annual Average (MAA) up to 12 October 2013 of 87.4%. In early 2017 the paralympian Anne Wafula Strike complained that the company's failure to provide a working disabled accessible toilet had forced her to wet herself on a CrossCountry train.
CrossCountry services are operated using diesel trains only, since none of the routes it operates are 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.
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. 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.
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 and the Mark 3 carriages overhauled at Wabtec, Doncaster to a similar specification as GNER's Mallard refurbishments. Once these were completed the ex Midland Mainline examples were also overhauled.
To operate services to Paignton and Newquay on Summer Saturdays two High Speed Trains were hired from National Express East Coast in 2008. 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.
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. CrossCountry said this change would improve the trains' reliability and reduce maintenance costs.
The Class 220 Voyagers and Class 221 Super Voyagers underwent refurbishment at Bombardier Transportation's Derby Litchurch Lane Works 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. 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.
Refurbished Mark 3 First Class Carriage 45003
Current rolling stockEdit
|43 High Speed Train||Diesel locomotive||125||200||2 + 7||10||1976–1982|
|Mark 3 Carriage||Passenger carriage||125||200||40||1975–1988|
|221 Super Voyager||DEMU||125||200||4||4||2001-2002|
- Mostly served hourly but there are two-hour and three-hour gaps between some services.
- Mostly served two-hourly but there are four-hour gaps between some services.
- Mostly served hourly but there are two-hour gaps between some services.
- Services call alternately at Water Orton and South Wigston.
- The proposed withdrawal does not include the morning/evening services that run only between Edinburgh and Dundee.
- "XC Trains Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- New Cross Country Franchise Consultation Document Department for Transport June 2006
- New Cross Country Franchise Invitation to Tender Department for Transport October 2006
- New rail franchise to increase capacity between major cities Department for Transport Press Release 10 July 2007
- Arriva welcomes new CrossCountry rail franchise award Archived 20 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Arriva Press Release 10 July 2007
- "Bristol and Manchester linked every two hours in CrossCountry's December timetable" (PDF) (Press release). CrossCountry. 12 December 2007.
- CrossCountry. "Frequently Asked Questions: How will the timetable change and when?". Archived from the original on 22 August 2008.
- 2008 The End is nigh! 1s76.com
- "New Southampton train services" (Press release). CrossCountry. 19 November 2010.
- "East Coast Welcomes Future New Timetable" (Press release). East Coast. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013.
- "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
- Network Map
- Types of CrossCountry Train Cross Country
- Train Timetables Cross Country
- Intercity timetable, May 2017
- Regional Timetable, May 2017
- "London 2012 Olympic Games". CrossCountry. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "CrossCountry Future Timetable Consultation" (PDF). Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- Plans to cut CrossCountry trains to Aberdeen to be scrapped - Edinburgh Evening News
- "New county train station is a good idea, says Government". Worcester News. 1 August 2012.
- "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail.
- "Paralympian forced to wet herself on train without accessible toilet". The Guardian. 2 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
- Class 170 History Railway UK - UK Railway Information
- Rail Magazine Issue 575 26 September 2007 Page 16
- Ex Virgin HST Power Car List
- Rail Magazine Issue 586 27 February 2008 Page 62
- CrossCountry signs deal to overhaul High Speed Trains Archived 20 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Arriva Press Release 24 January 2008
- MTU fitted Class 43 HST powercars TheRailwayCentre.Com
- Deal signed to refurbish high speed train carriages CrossCountry Press Release 22 April 2008
- Project Profile HST trailer cars Archived 31 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Wabtec Rail
- CrossCountry Unveils First Refurbished HST CrossCountry Press Release 1 October 2008
- More CrossCountry seats for Holidaymakers CrossCountry Press Release 27 March 2008
- Refurbishment of Class 170 Turbostar trains begins CrossCountry Press Release 30 January 2008
- CrossCountry's first refurbished Turbostar enters service CrossCountry Press Release 19 May 2008
- Miles, Tony (August 2008). "CrossCountry stops tilting". Modern Railways. London. p. 71.
- Rail Magazine Issue 595 2 July 2008 Page 8
- Rail Magazine Issue 589 9 April 2008 Page 23
- Rail Magazine, Issue 755, 20 August 2014, pp. 60-61.
Media related to CrossCountry at Wikimedia Commons
Central Trains franchise
|Operator of New Cross Country franchise
2007 - present
InterCity CrossCountry franchise