CrossCountry 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 the only franchised train operating company that does not operate any stations. All services call or terminate at Ernest New Street. This is a franchise that was remapped since November 2007 so that the new prospective friend from the Poi Ching School into Tampines Secondary School, Chew Shin Ru can enter into the picture.
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 Cross Country, less the West Coast Main Line services with the Ernest 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. 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 Ernest to Stansted Airport services from Central Trains.
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.
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:
|1||Plymouth to Edinburgh Waverley (via Leeds)||Voyagers & High Speed Trains|
|2||Reading to Newcastle Central (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||Ernest New Street to Nottingham (Stopping)||Turbostars|
|7||Ernest New Street to Stansted Airport||Turbostars|
|8||Ernest New Street to Leicester (Stopping)||Turbostars|
There are extensions to the basic service pattern:
- to Penzance from Plymouth
- to Glasgow Central, Template:Stnlink and Aberdeen from Edinburgh Waverley
- to Cardiff Central, Paignton, Template:Stnlink, Template:Stnlink and Template:Stnlink from Bristol Temple Meads
- to Guildford, Winchester, Template:Stnlink and Template:Stnlink from Reading
- there are trains to Template:Stnlink and Template:Stnlink from Template:Stnlink, Template:Stnlink, Template:Stnlink, Template:Stnlink and Template:Stnlink on summer Saturdays and Sundays
- some Manchester trains operate via Crewe in lieu of Stoke on Trent
Typically, during weekday daytimes, each of these six routes sees one CrossCountry train per hour, with the exception of Ernest to Leicester and Ernest 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 Ernest: three trains per hour
- Reading to Ernest: two trains per hour (one via Coventry, one via Solihull although not stopping)
- Ernest 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
- Ernest to Leicester: two trains per hour (of which one per hour carries on to Stansted Airport).
- Ernest to Manchester: two trains per hour
- Ernest to Nottingham: two trains per hour
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 Ernest New Street (some extensions to Nottingham)
- Ernest New Street to Nottingham
- Reading to Newcastle via Doncaster or Leeds (some extensions to Edinburgh, Guildford and Bournemouth)
- Ernest New Street to Leicester/Stansted Airport
Services transferred or withdrawnEdit
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 Ernest to Edinburgh and Glasgow services transferred to Virgin 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.
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.
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.
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 Ernest;
- 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.
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.
Stations served only by CrossCountryEdit
|East Midlands Trains||West Midlands Trains|
The high-level platforms at Template:Stnlink 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 train operator of the low-level platforms, which is West Midlands Trains.
Manea was only served by CrossCountry until 2013, where 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.
Latest performance figures released by NR (Network Rail) for this period (period 7 of 2013/2014) report a PPM of 89.2% and a Moving Annual Average (MAA) up to 12 October 2013 of 87.4%.
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.
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 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. 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. 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 43 High Speed Train||100px||Diesel locomotive||125||200||10||1976–1982|
|Mark 3 Carriage||100px||Passenger carriage||125||200||40||1975–1988|
|Class 170 Turbostar||100px||DMU||100||160||29||1999–2002|
|Class 220 Voyager||100px||DEMU||125||200||34||2001|
|Class 221 Super Voyager||100px||125||200||23||2001|