Arriva Group’s CrossCountry train operating company has been awarded a new contract by the Department for Transport (DfT) to continue operating services across the length and breadth of Great Britain, building on its 16-year reputation as a leading national operator.
The new contract starts Sunday October 15, with a guaranteed core term of four years. The news re-confirms Arriva’s position as a leading player in the UK rail market and will see CrossCountry introducing a range of customer improvements including a full fleet refurbishment of both the Voyager and Turbostar fleet – the first major refurbishment in 20 years. This will include fitting CCTV, Automatic Passenger Counting equipment on board, new carpets and LED lighting, all designed to provide a more comfortable experience for customers.
Under the new contract, CrossCountry is also planning enhancements to its timetable, including a new daily direct service between Cardiff and Edinburgh. The company will also explore the reintroduction of services between Cambridge and Stansted Airport, strengthening connections across Great Britain.
CrossCountry’s Managing Director, Tom Joyner, said: “This is great news for our customers and stakeholders and recognises the importance of our continuing to deliver long-distance business and leisure services across England, Scotland and Wales.
“Our trains connect towns and cities, people and communities across Great Britain, playing an essential role in people’s lives. We look forward to working closely with stakeholders to further improve the customer experience in the years to come.”
David Brown, Arriva Group’s Managing Director of its UK Trains division commented: “This is great news for Arriva Group, our colleagues at CrossCountry and for customers of the railways. I’m proud of our long-standing reputation in the UK rail industry and our track record of successfully managing and delivering train services across the country. The Government’s confidence in Arriva will ensure we can deliver connectivity and more comfortable services, helping to ensure Britain’s rail system can grow and thrive long into the future.”
Cross Country offers services from Cornwall, the South Coast, the Midlands and South Wales to the north of England and central and north-east Scotland. It connects seven out of 10 of the major cities in the UK and serves several university towns and regional airports. The announcement today will ensure continuity for the 85,000 daily customers who have come to rely on the connections provided by CrossCountry.
The news also builds on Arriva’s strong reputation in UK rail and closely follows a two-year contract extension for Arriva Rail London to operate the London Overground concession on behalf of Transport for London.
Arriva Group has extensive operating experience across long-distance, commuter, urban, inter-urban and regional train services, through its UK Trains division which includes Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Grand Central and Arriva Rail London. It is the only owning group to have experience with all contract types currently in use on Britain’s railway, including national rail contracts, a concessionary contract, an Open Access company under the Grand Central brand, and a rail maintenance business, Arriva Traincare.