CrossCountry handed new three-year deal to run train services

Long-distance train operator CrossCountry has been awarded a new contract to continue running services for three more years.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it will take on the revenue and cost risk associated with the franchise, in line with emergency measures announced last month.

CrossCountry, owned by Arriva, has run trains through England, Scotland and Wales since 2007.

Its network stretches from Aberdeen to Penzance, and from Stansted Airport to Cardiff.

Under the new deal, capacity will be boosted by 20,000 seats per week, more drivers and on-board staff will be deployed, and technology to cut the environmental impact of operations will be trialled.

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.”

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