11 November 2007 - October 2023
|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||120|
|Parent company||Arriva UK Trains|
|Predecessor|| Virgin CrossCountry |
CrossCountry (legal name XC Trains Limited) is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Arriva UK Trains, operating the Cross Country franchise. It operates intercity and other long-distance passenger trains across Great Britain, but does not serve Greater London. It operates the UK's longest direct rail passenger service, from Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland to Penzance in western Cornwall, which has a journey time of more than 13 hours.
CrossCountry is one of only two franchised train operating companies that does not manage any stations, the other being Caledonian Sleeper. All routes call or terminate at Birmingham New Street.
In June 2006 the Department for Transport announced its intention to restructure a number of franchises.The changes created a 'New Cross Country' franchise that would incorporate the existing InterCity Cross Country franchise run by Virgin CrossCountry, without the West Coast Main Line services (with the Birmingham to Scotland services transferring to Virgin Trains 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 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.
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.
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.
From May 2011 a number of services were extended from Edinburgh to Glasgow to replace East Coast services.
Originally due to conclude on 31 March 2016, the franchise was extended until December 2019.An Invitation to Tender was to be issued in October 2018 for the next franchise, but in September 2018 the competition was cancelled to allow the recommendations from a report into the franchise system to be incorporated. In July 2019 the Direct Award was further extended by one year to end in October 2020 but in September 2020 it was announced that emergency agreements with train operating companies introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom were to be extended for 18 months and that all passenger rail franchising in Great Britain was abandoned. In October 2020, the DfT confirmed that the franchise has been extended for a further three years to finish in October 2023.
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 services either terminate at or pass through Birmingham New Street station.Services can be categorised into two types:
CrossCountry's official website does show a distinction between the two types of services (for example, each has a separate timetable booklet), but does not explicitly call them Inter-City and Regional.
As of May 2020, the Monday-Saturday daytime services, with frequencies in trains per hour (tph), include:
|Plymouth – Edinburgh Waverley (and Glasgow Central)||1|| Totnes, Newton Abbot, Exeter St Davids, Tiverton Parkway, Taunton, Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street, Tamworth (1tp2h), Burton-on-Trent (1tp2h), Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Alnmouth (irregular), Berwick-upon-Tweed (irregular), Dunbar (1tp2h); |
1tp2h extended to/from Glasgow Central, calling at Haymarket and Motherwell.
|43, 220, 221|
|(Southampton Central and) Reading – Newcastle||1|| Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Birmingham New Street, Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham;|
1tp2h extended from/to Southampton Central, calling at Southampton Airport Parkway, Winchester, Basingstoke, Reading, then as above.
|Bournemouth – Manchester Piccadilly||1||Brockenhurst, Southampton Central, Southampton Airport Parkway, Winchester, Basingstoke, Reading, Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Congleton (limited), Macclesfield, Stockport|
|(Exeter St Davids and) Bristol Temple Meads – Manchester Piccadilly||1|| Bristol Parkway, Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield, Stockport;|
1tp2h extended from/to Exeter St Davids, calling at Tiverton Parkway, Taunton, Bristol Temple Meads, then as above. Two return services Mon-Sat extend from Exeter to/from Paignton calling at Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torquay and Paignton.
|Cardiff Central – Nottingham||1||Newport, Chepstow (2tp3h), Lydney (1tp3h), Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa, Ashchurch (limited), Worcestershire Parkway, University, Birmingham New Street, Wilnecote (Nottingham-bound only), Tamworth, Burton-on-Trent, Willington (limited), Derby, Spondon (limited), Long Eaton, Beeston||170|
|Birmingham New Street – Nottingham||1||Wilnecote (Birmingham-bound only), Tamworth, Burton-on-Trent, Derby|
|Birmingham New Street – Stansted Airport||1||Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge, Audley End|
|Birmingham New Street – Leicester||1||Water Orton (1tp2h), Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton, Hinckley, Narborough, South Wigston (1tp2h)|
These services combine to provide higher frequencies between Birmingham and the following major destinations:
The Sunday service pattern is mostly similar to the weekday one, 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.
Due to emergency travel restrictions introduced in 2020 by the Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a reduced timetable was introduced in June 2020 and which remains in place until further notice.
The above table shows the basic service pattern; however, a small number of these services are extended beyond their usual destination:
as well as Newquay on summer weekends;
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.
In December 2016, CrossCountry published a consultation document for changes to the timetable proposed to be implemented in December 2017. These included:
To allow these changes to take place, all CrossCountry services on some routes (which had a limited service) would be withdrawn and replaced with extra services run by other operators. These included:
In April 2017, it was announced the proposed changes would not be proceeding.
CrossCountry does not manage any stations, although there are stations managed by other train operating companies at which it is the only operator: five stations (Burton-on-Trent, Hinckley, Narborough, South Wigston and Willington) are managed by East Midlands Railway, while three stations (Coleshill Parkway, Water Orton and Wilnecote) are managed by West Midlands Trains. At Tamworth station, which has tracks and platforms at two levels, the high-level platforms are served only by CrossCountry, but the entire station is managed by West Midlands Trains, which serves the low-level platforms. Similarly, at Worcestershire Parkway, the low-level platforms are served only by CrossCountry, but the station is managed by Great Western Railway, which serves only the high-level platforms.
Manea was served only by CrossCountry until 2013, when Abellio Greater Anglia started running one train every two hours at the station in addition to the CrossCountry services there.
To improve the travelling experience, CrossCountry has designated four stations as alternative changeover stations: these are Cheltenham Spa, Derby, Leamington Spa and Wolverhampton. Connection times can be shorter at these smaller stations. For example, passengers travelling from Cardiff to Edinburgh could change at Cheltenham – where both their trains use the same platform – instead of Birmingham New Street, a larger, more complex station. These four stations are marked on the CrossCountry route map in yellow.
CrossCountry services are operated using diesel trains only, since none of the routes it operates are fully electrified.
CrossCountry inherited 34 four-car Class 220 Voyagers and 40 five-car and 4 four-car Class 221 Super Voyagers from Virgin CrossCountry as well as 11 two-car and 18 three-car Class 170 Turbostars from Central Trains.
In December 2007 Class 221 Super Voyagers 221101 - 113 and 221142 - 144 were transferred to Virgin Trains West Coast with 221114 - 118 following in December 2008.
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 Trains 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 enginesand the Mark 3 carriages overhauled at Doncaster Works 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's Toton depot and the interiors renewed 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, as tilt was not required on the parts of West Coast Main Line that CrossCountry serves.CrossCountry said this would improve 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 extra standard-class seats to the Class 221 Super Voyagers.The interiors were given a refresh in 2011/12 with the standard-class seats re-covered 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 to take up an excessive amount of space on a four-car unit. It retained the quiet coaches on its five HST sets.
As part of its franchise extension, in November 2017 two former Virgin Trains Class 221 Super Voyager driving cars of unit 221144, that had been in store at Central Rivers TMD for several years, were reactivated, with two five-car sets releasing a centre carriage to allow an additional four-car set to be formed.
In 2021, six of the existing two-carriage Class 170s were lengthened. This happened as a result of East Midlands Railway only wanting two-carriage sets, hence six centre cars became available when they were replaced by West Midlands Trains for transfer to CrossCountry.
|Trainset[ clarification needed – discuss ]||Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Coaches||Number||Built|
|InterCity 125||43||Diesel locomotive||125||200||2 + 7||12||1976–82|
|Mark 3||Passenger carriage||40||1975–88|
|Bombardier Voyager||220 Voyager||DEMU||125||200||4||34||2000–01|
|221 Super Voyager||125||200||4||4||2001–02|
Midland Mainline was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by National Express that operated the Midland Main Line franchise from April 1996 until November 2007. Midland Mainline ran fast and semi-fast passenger services from London to the East Midlands and Yorkshire, on the Midland Main Line. Most services ran between London St Pancras and either Derby, Nottingham or Sheffield. Some services extended to Burton upon Trent, Matlock, Barnsley, Leeds, York and Scarborough.
The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London and Glasgow with branches to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh. It is one of the busiest mixed-traffic railway routes in Europe, carrying a mixture of intercity rail, regional rail, commuter rail and rail freight traffic. The core route of the WCML runs from London to Glasgow for 399 miles (642 km) and was opened from 1837 to 1869. With additional lines deviating to Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh, this totals a route mileage of 700 miles (1,127 km). The Glasgow–Edinburgh via Carstairs line connects the WCML to Edinburgh, however the main London–Edinburgh route is the East Coast Main Line. Several sections of the WCML form part of the suburban railway systems in London, Coventry, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, with many more smaller commuter stations, as well as providing links to more rural towns.
Virgin Trains was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Virgin Rail Group, a joint venture between Virgin Group and Stagecoach, which operated the InterCity West Coast franchise from 9 March 1997 to 7 December 2019. The franchise covered long-distance passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London, West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland, subsequently connecting six of the UK's largest cities: London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, which have a combined metropolitan population of over 18 million. Virgin Trains had around 3,400 employees in 2015.
Chiltern Railways is a British train operating company owned by Arriva UK Trains that has operated the Chiltern Railways franchise since July 1996. It operates commuter/regional rail passenger services from its central London terminus at London Marylebone along the M40 corridor to destinations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, as well as long-distance services to the West Midlands along two routes. Services on the Chiltern Main Line run from London to Birmingham Snow Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, with some peak-hour services extended to Kidderminster.
Arriva Trains Wales was a British train operating company owned by Arriva UK Trains that operated the Wales & Borders franchise. It ran urban and inter-urban passenger services to all railway stations in Wales, including Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street, Newport, Swansea, Wrexham General and Holyhead, as well as to certain stations in England such as Hereford, Shrewsbury, Chester, Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street.
The InterCity 125 is a diesel-powered high-speed passenger train built by British Rail Engineering Limited between 1975 and 1982. Each set is made up of two Class 43 power cars, one at each end, and a rake of Mark 3 carriages. The name is derived from its top operational speed of 125 mph (201 km/h). Initially the sets were classified as Classes 253 and 254.
Great Western Railway (GWR) is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that operates the Greater Western passenger railway franchise. It manages 197 stations and its trains call at over 270. GWR operates long-distance inter-city services along the Great Western Main Line to and from the West of England and South Wales, inter-city services from London to the West Country via the Reading–Taunton line, and the Night Riviera sleeper service between London and Penzance. It also provides commuter and outer-suburban services from its London terminus at Paddington to West London, the Thames Valley region including parts of Berkshire, parts of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; and regional services throughout the West of England and South Wales to the South coast of England. Great Western Railway also provides and maintains the Electrostar Class 387 fleet for Heathrow Express.
InterCity was introduced by British Rail in 1966 as a brand-name for its long-haul express passenger services.
The British Rail Class 170Turbostar is a British diesel multiple-unit (DMU) passenger train built by Bombardier Transportation at its Derby Litchurch Lane Works. Introduced after privatisation, these trains have operated regional as well as long-distance services, and to a lesser extent suburban services. 139 units were built, but some were later converted to Class 168 and Class 171 units.
The British Rail Class 158Express Sprinter is a diesel multiple-unit passenger train, built for British Rail between 1989 and 1992 by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) at its Derby Litchurch Lane Works. They were built to replace many locomotive-hauled trains, and allowed cascading of existing Sprinter units to replace elderly 'heritage' DMUs. The Class 159 DMUs are almost identical to the Class 158s, having been converted from Class 158 to Class 159 in two batches to operate express services from London Waterloo to the West of England.
The British Rail Mark 3 is a type of passenger carriage developed in response to growing competition from airlines and the car in the 1970s. A variant of the Mark 3 became the rolling stock for the High Speed Train (HST).
Virgin CrossCountry was a train operating company in the United Kingdom operating the InterCity CrossCountry passenger franchise from January 1997 until November 2007. Virgin CrossCountry operated some of the longest direct rail services in the United Kingdom but most avoided Greater London after 2003. All services called or terminated at Birmingham New Street.
The British Rail Class 222 Meridian is a diesel multiple-unit high-speed passenger train capable of 125 mph (200 km/h). Twenty-seven sets were built by Bombardier Transportation in Bruges, Belgium.
The British Rail Class 221 Super Voyager is a class of tilting diesel-electric multiple-unit express passenger trains built in Bruges, Belgium, by Bombardier Transportation in 2001/02.
The Bombardier Voyager is a family of high-speed 125 mph diesel-electric multiple-units built in Belgium by Bombardier Transportation, for service on the railway network of the United Kingdom. Construction of the Voyager family took place between 2000 and 2005, consisting of three classes - the Class 220 Voyager, Class 221 Super Voyager and Class 222 Meridian. These three classes are currently operated by CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway (respectively).
London Midland was a train operating company in England, owned by Govia, which operated the West Midlands franchise between 2007 and 2017.
East Midlands Trains (EMT) was a British train operating company owned by the transport group Stagecoach, which operated the East Midlands franchise between November 2007 and August 2019.
Abellio ScotRail, operating services under the name ScotRail, is the national train operating company of Scotland. A subsidiary of Abellio, it has operated the ScotRail franchise since 1 April 2015, taking over from predecessor First ScotRail. The franchise will end in March 2022 and will be replaced by ScotRail Trains, an Operator of last resort.
The Birmingham station group is a station group of three railway stations in Birmingham city centre, England consisting of New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street. The station group is printed on national railway tickets as BIRMINGHAM STNS and does not include the international station of Birmingham International, which is located some 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) east of the city centre next to Birmingham Airport and National Exhibition Centre.
Abellio East Midlands Limited, trading as East Midlands Railway (EMR), is a train operating company in England, owned by Abellio, and is the current operator of the East Midlands franchise.
Media related to CrossCountry at Wikimedia Commons