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Bigger fleet, more seats: CrossCountry reveals plans to transform customer experience by May 2025

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  •   Train operator announces massive expansion to long-distance fleet, transforming journeys with around 25% more seats available than today.
  •  Extra trains arriving soon mean over 12,000 more seats per week for CrossCountry customers planning rail getaways this summer.
  • All 58 of CrossCountry’s existing Voyager trains will also be fully refurbished - as well as its regional Turbostar fleet.

Long-distance train operator CrossCountry has secured a further five Voyager trains from rolling stock company Beacon Rail in a significant boost for capacity. The five trains come in addition to the seven extra Voyager trains secured in October.

The 12 extra trains - totalling 60 additional carriages - will strengthen CrossCountry’s long-distance services from May 2025, increasing capacity on north-south routes by over 36,000 seats per week. Combined with a new timetable proposed from May 2025, rail users will see more services as well as longer trains across the network – particularly on CrossCountry’s busy Reading to Newcastle corridor.

Extra trains will be progressively introduced into service on CrossCountry routes from June 2024 following their release from Avanti West Coast, providing a crucial uplift in capacity of around 12,000 seats per week in time for the busy summer holiday period.

Though the extra trains will be brought into service as quickly as possible, a further move to relieve crowding on some of CrossCountry’s long-distance services this summer will see temporary changes to the timetable - meaning busier services will make fewer station calls from June to September only.

Adjusting these calling patterns – at Wakefield Westgate and Chesterfield, Basingstoke and Winchester – encourages passengers making shorter journeys to switch to other operators, providing more capacity for CrossCountry customers making longer journeys.

Also announced is the complete refurbishment of both of CrossCountry’s train fleets – including Turbostar trains which operate regional services from Birmingham to Cardiff, Nottingham and Stansted Airport - transforming the on-board experience for customers across all CrossCountry routes by summer 2026.

Julian Edwards and Scott Maynard, CrossCountry’s Interim Managing Directors, said: “We’re delighted to announce these transformational changes in fleet and on-board experience, which customers will start to benefit from as soon as this summer.

“Our teams are working hard to ensure the smooth introduction and refurbishment of extra trains and we look forward to working with colleagues at Alstom and Beacon Trains to give the ever-impressive Voyager fleet a new lease of life on the CrossCountry network.”

Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP, said: “More seats, services and refurbished trains will make for a better passenger experience, helping to relieve crowding. As well as benefiting those travelling with CrossCountry, this important investment in upgraded trains also builds on our record of supporting the rail supply chain."

Peter Broadley, Alstom's Managing Director of Rolling Stock and Services for UK and Ireland, said: “For more than 20 years, CrossCountry’s Voyagers have proudly served towns and cities across Great Britain – travelling millions of miles in the process. We now look forward to giving these iconic Alstom-built trains some well-deserved TLC with a comprehensive overhaul that will include new seats, on-board technology enhancements and an exterior repaint.

“Not only will the refurbishment delight fare-paying customers with increased levels of comfort and accessibility, the overhaul programme will support UK suppliers and skilled jobs across the country.”