CrossCountry operates the UK’s longest train service in distance, travelling from Penzance in Cornwall to Aberdeen in Scotland. CrossCountry trains were founded out of the decision in 2006 to restructure several train franchises in the UK to create a new franchise providing services routed across the country from the InterCity Cross Country franchise at the time run by Virgin CrossCountry, minus the West Coast Main Line services and with some services from Central Trains. In 2007, Arriva won the bidding for the services and took over running them in November that year. The Arriva franchise was to end in 2016, but has been extended until 2019. CrossCountry trains provide a high-speed and quality service that bypasses London - opening up reliable and quick journey options to much more of the country.
The entire fleet of CrossCountry trains are diesel engine, as parts of the route are still not electrified. Many of the trains were inherited from the previous franchises that were restructured to create CrossCountry. The fleet used now includes Class 43 High Speed Train diesel engines, Mark 3 Carriage, Class 170 Turbostar, Class 220 Voyager, and Class 221 Super Voyager - all of which can travel in speed excessive of 100 mph. The trains have been regularly refurbished to remove unneeded amenities such as a shopping car and adding more economy and comfortable seats. In 2014 ‘quiet cars’ began to be removed from the Voyager services but are still available on the HST sets.
This provider is the only train operator in the UK that does not operate any of their route’s stations. All trains journeying with CrossCountry call or terminate at Birmingham New Street, making this station a crucial one for travellers journeying anywhere along the line. While the line does provide for a journey that traverses the country, the majority of passengers utilise regular services connecting Birmingham with other large and small cities along the network. This includes hourly core services from Birmingham to Newcastle, Birmingham to Manchester, and Birmingham to Stansted Airport. An hourly service is also available from Cardiff Central to Nottingham as well as from Sheffield to York. Some of the other important and popular stations along this line include Edinburgh Waverly, Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter St Davids, Plymouth and Bath Spa.
CrossCountry offers two main classes for passengers: Standard Class and First Class. Those travelling in First Class can expect larger seats, tables, power outlets, WiFi and an in-seat complimentary food and drink on most of their core services. Standard Class has the option to pre-book seats at tables as well as purchase food and drinks from a concessions trolley. WiFi is available on all High Speed and Voyager trains for an additional fee. Promotions and discounts are available for purchasing advanced tickets for specific train times and Off-Peak tickets. Anytime, single and Peak tickets are all also available. Those journeying with bikes can book space on the train, however space is limited for bicycles and passengers should always book in advance.