CrossCountry has franchise extended until October 2023 thanks to new contract

Environmental trials will also take place

CrossCountry HST

Credit: CrossCountry

has announced that they have signed a new contract with the Government to continue running trains for another three years.

Arriva CrossCountry has run the franchise since 2007 and will continue to run trains until October 2023 after Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, announced the contract today, Friday 16th October 2020.

This will provide staff and passengers certainty as the future of the rail reform takes shape.

As people return to the railway, passengers will benefit from an increased capacity, and more train drivers and onboard staff are needed to improve services and performances.

The contract also has focused on tacking the environmental impact. To reduce diesel emissions, CrossCountry will trial electrical shore supplies when their Turbostar train fleet are in the depot for cleaning, which will reduce the use of diesel engines.

CrossCountry Voyagers will be trialled to use the on-train batteries when they enter and leave stations so that the engines are turned off at platforms to improve air quality.

Credit: Network Rail

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This agreement ensures that vital train services will continue across the UK’s most extensive rail network, as the country continues to fight and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The deal announced today reaffirms our commitment to ending the complicated franchise system, and is focused on the best interests of passengers, delivering better services and helping create a new kind of railway.

“With a real focus on boosting capacity and seizing the opportunity to create more environmentally sustainable services, this new contract will benefit passengers in the long term, improving their experience when travelling on our railways.”

This new contract complements the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement which were announced in September.

Credit: RailAdvent

Running from Aberdeen to Penzance, and from Stansted Airport to Cardiff Central, CrossCountry’s network is the most geographically extensive passenger network in Britain, connecting seven of Britain’s ten largest cities, and stopping at 100 stations.

The new contract will start on Sunday 18th October and will run until October 2023.

Welcoming the DfT announcement, 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, and this will be essential as we rebuild our national and local economies. We will continue to focus on highlighting the benefits of rail travel and ensuring our customers can travel with confidence.”

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