The Department for Transport (DfT) have announced an extension to the Arriva Cross Country franchise until October 2019. have been promised, with the pledges including 39,000 more seats at peak times and cuts of 9 minutes on weekdays on Birmingham to Manchester services.
However, rail users should not get too excited. No new trains are being added, so
passengers will continue to enjoy the delights of Voyagers and 40 year old Inter-
For commuters using Cross Country services in the West Midlands, there are no improvements
to shout about at all. There is nothing in the blurb from the DfT saying what passengers
using the services between Birmingham and Stansted Airport, or Nottingham and Cardiff
will gain from the “direct award” to Arriva. These services are used by the growing
market of passengers needing to travel between the West and East Midlands as well
Also disappointing is that the opportunity has not been seized to stop more of the Nottingham – Cardiffs at Bromsgrove, now the new station is open. Instead, the token one train per day in each direction remains the Cross Country service, with passengers from the town being forced to travel to Birmingham on the Worcester – New Street London Midland trains if they want to make connections with other Cross Country services to the North or the South West.
To be fair, three years is not a long time and does not offer a train operator much chance to make a return. However, Campaign for Rail will be working hard to ensure the new franchise, commencing in 2019 is rather more ambitious and gives passengers a much better deal.
5 October 2016
Not Much Change for CrossCountry