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A group of pupils from Jeffries Primary School in Vernon, near Nottingham, had the opportunity to experience a day in-the-life of a CrossCountry train driver today when they visited the training centre in Derby and climbed on board the rail company's two hi-tech Voyager train simulators.

The 35 pupils were invited to see behind the scenes of CrossCountry's driver assessment programme, to learn about what it takes to operate a train. The children were given a tour of the control room and had the chance to operate controls from within the driver's cab. They were also shown some of the various emergency situations that each driver must be prepared for when driving a train.

Mrs Monica Swaine, a teacher from Jeffries Primary School said: "This was an invaluable experience for the children and a great day out. So many of them have travelled on trains, but none of us were aware just how much was involved in driving one. A number of the children left with a real thirst to find out more which is always nice to see. Who knows, we may have a future train driver in this very class!"

CrossCountry has two Voyager 'full mission' computer simulators in the Derby training centre. They each cost £2.5m and are identical to real Voyager cabs. The simulators are designed to train and assess all Voyager drivers annually, to ensure they are able to do their jobs safely and effectively.

Andrew Oakey, Head of Drivers from CrossCountry said: "There are around a hundred different scenarios that drivers can experience whilst in the simulators. We're continually training and developing them to ensure they are prepared for every eventuality in the course of their duties. Our main priority is to ensure the safe operation of our trains and the safety of our customers on board. Today's trip was a great opportunity to show the children what it takes to ensure just that, and it was lovely to see them so engaged."


Notes to editors

CrossCountry started operating on 11 November 2007. The franchise, which is the most extensive in the UK, will run until 31 March 2016. For further information on CrossCountry services and future franchise plans log on to www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk.

CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group, which is owned by Deutsche Bahn. Arriva is a leading pan-European public transport operators with more than 42,000 employees and operations across 12 European countries. The link to Arriva is www.arriva.co.uk. The link to Deutsche Bahn is www.deutschebahn.com.

Like CrossCountry on Facebook at facebook.com/crosscountrytrains.

Follow CrossCountry on Twitter via twitter.com/crosscountryuk.

CrossCountry bookings - passengers can book any rail journey, with any train operator for anywhere in Britain with no booking fee through CrossCountry's website and also their free Train Tickets app. Visit your app store to download the CrossCountry app.

CrossCountry facts and figures

STATIONS SERVED: 119
ROUTE MILES: 1,490
WEEKDAY SERVICES: 295
PASSENGERS CARRIED: Over 30 million passenger journeys a year anticipated
ANNUAL TRAIN MILEAGE: Approximately 16 million
EMPLOYEES: Approximately 1,600
LONGEST TRAIN SERVICE: 08.20 Aberdeen to Penzance (774 miles)

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