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Arriva to operate CrossCountry until 2019

Arriva’s CrossCountry franchise will now end in October 2019.

The deal was announced on September 29. Arriva will pay Government a £163 million premium to operate the franchise from now through to the end of the deal.

Arriva took over XC from Virgin in 2007. The deal had been due to end in March 2016, but in March 2013 a 43-month extension was confirmed. 

No new trains will be added to the fleet, but the Government has announced 39,000 more seats per year along the Edinburgh-Plymouth route. This equates to 148.5 seats per weekday, if there are no increases at weekends. That’s the equivalent of fewer than two Mk 3 Standard Open coaches fitted with disabled toilets. The increase is expected to come via reconfigured interiors.

  • For much more on this deal, read RAIL 811, published on October 12. 

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  • bob - 29/09/2016 17:35

    I would have thought cross -country would go for bimode,for instance Bristol to Manchester via new street, the pans go up on the ole at broms grove 2017 then all the way to Manchester. Hire 88 class from drs

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  • Mitchell Henry Anthony Hurd - 29/09/2016 17:50

    I hope XC aren't going to increase seats through their existing fleet - surely, the 39,000 extra seats per year will come via train cascades. Hopefully, double-Voyager sets will run the XC routes through Oxford.

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    • BigTone - 29/09/2016 19:20

      The article says "No new trains will be added to the fleet" which in my opinion is daft. Also silly is the mileage under the wires and XC has no electric capability

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 29/09/2016 19:47

    If Arriva does lose the Crosscountry franchise then I think National Express, Stagecoach, First Group, Abellio or Govia could win the franchise to take over what Arriva left off with Crosscountry.

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  • 7D3 - 29/09/2016 21:39

    I bet XC will have the HSTs from either Virgin Trains East Coast or GWR (not including the ones going to Scotrail) for the Edinburgh to Plymouth route to meet the 39,000 per year. You can meet that capacity without the longer trains and we don't want to see the HSTs go, win win.

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  • Toby John Aeneas Hart - 29/09/2016 22:40

    I fail to see how more seats could possibly be crammed into existing formations, so it could surely only come from extending formations or greater utilisation of HSTs, either from their current fleet or ones cascaded from other TOCs as they become surplus to requirement

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  • 31154 - 30/09/2016 08:54

    An extra 148 seats a day - WOW! And no mention of any improvements to the already overcrowded Birmingham - Stansted route. Pathetic!

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    • David - 30/09/2016 13:38

      Ideally that route would have been fully electrified by now, so that four-car trains could be used...

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  • Steve in York - 30/09/2016 17:12

    148 seats per day - XC have 57 Voyagers, so assuming they modify seats on all units that's approx 2.5 seats per unit! That really helps the 17-00 from Birmingham north where you can barely get through the door of the 4 car unit that normally turns up on this quiet off peak service!

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  • FrankH - 30/09/2016 20:24

    There are 9 Edinburgh - Plymouth services per day including Glasgow and Dundee departures. With I guess the same in the opposite direction. So by reconfiguring the seating ( less legroom) XC are going to get an extra 8.22 seats per service, which will probably pay the £163 million premium. 8 extra seats in a HST maybe, how in a 4 or 5 coach voyager?

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  • Robert Weller - 02/10/2016 20:59

    I suspect that the solution will make use of the fact that the HSTs moving to Scotland are reputedly going to be short sets which will mean that there are spare HST carriages. Add one HST carriage to each XC HST and the promised increase in seating is met without any new trains and with minimal fuss.

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  • Chris - 03/10/2016 09:42

    Disappointed is an understatement! This deal appears to do virtually nothing for crowding on the XC network and less than that on most routes. What about overcrowded 170's on the Cardiff - Nottingham and Birmingham - Stansted routes? What about overcrowded Voyagers on the core XC routes? This deal consigns XC customers to another 3 years of overcrowded services, formed of short trains, not making the most of valuable paths on a railway operating at (or arguably above, in some places) capacity. Was it a lack of ambition from ARRIVA, or DfT not wanting to buy something better? Surely the '170' operated routes could have been enhanced with a cascade of similar units in from other operators, in exchange for new build? Perhaps Voyagers could have been made available by splitting the Reading / Bristol - Manchester services at Birmingham, with new build EMUs operating Coventry/Birmingham - Manchester under the wires - in a similar way to the Liverpool service? - not ideal to split the service, but capacity is all important.

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