Arriva to continue CrossCountry rail franchise
Posted: 29 September 2016 | | No comments yet
Arriva will continue the CrossCountry rail franchise following a Direct Award by the Department for Transport (DfT).
Operating the franchise since 2007, Arriva has welcomed the decision to extend the franchise award until October 2019 and has pledged further improvements including quicker journeys, thousands of extra seats and free Wi-Fi.
39,000 additional seats by December 2017
Under the contract, Arriva CrossCountry (AXC) will continue to run services from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted to Cardiff, covering approximately 1,500 route miles and calling at over 100 stations.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and today (29 September 2016) is a key milestone in giving passengers better journeys right across the Cross Country network.
“The franchise, which spans parts of England, Scotland and Wales, serves both commuters and long distance passengers and these benefits from Arriva Cross Country will deliver extra and smoother journeys for customers using these services.”
New benefits for CrossCountry passengers
Benefits of the CrossCountry franchise will include:
- An additional 39,000 seats by December 2017 in peak periods on the Edinburgh-Plymouth route through Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol
- Cutting journey times from Birmingham to Manchester by up to 12 minutes at weekends and nine minutes on weekdays
- A £20 million investment by the Government to further modernise CrossCountry’s HST fleet, including powered doors
- Free on-board Wifi and 4G connection upgrades by April 2018
- Improved customer information with a 24/7 customer service line
- £1m of extra funding for Community Rail Partnerships across the network over the three year period
- Extra services calling at Morpeth
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to operate the franchise for a further three years”
Reacting to the decision, Chris Burchell, managing director of Arriva UK Trains said: “Under Arriva, the CrossCountry franchise has made significant progress for customers since 2007 so we are delighted to have the opportunity to operate the franchise for a further three years.
“Over the past nine years our investment programme has focussed on taking the CrossCountry franchise to a new level, enjoying national recognition for our innovation and customer service. We have introduced new timetables, extra station calls, refurbished carriages, re-introduced the fleet of High Speed Trains and, using new technology, delivered one of the industry’s most forward-thinking e-ticketing and on-board reservation solutions, helping to ensure customers have faster and easier access to great value fares.
“CrossCountry will continue to work closely with the Department for Transport over the next three years to meet targets and deliver further planned improvements for passengers.”
Arriva will pay the government a premium of £163 million to operate the franchise from September 2016 until October 2019.