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Richard Niven 20,000 mile motorbike ride

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On 20 March Richard Niven, a train driver for Edinburgh-based CrossCountry Trains, will swap the comfort of his cab and, along with his Honda motorcycle, travel to the tiny South American town of Ushuaia to begin the treacherous nine-week journey.

During the nine weeks Richard will face a host of weather conditions on some of the planet's most notorious and difficult mountain roads and valleys. The charity trip will take the 45 year-old through 14 countries on his way to the US state of Alaska where he will prepare for his final leg across to New York on America's east coast.

Kind-hearted Richard from South Queensferry is raising money for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation - a small charity which provides funding projects in Africa and Asia to help save critically endangered wild animals, especially elephants and tigers.

Richard said; "This will be a really gruelling journey but also a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am funding the fuel, food and accommodation myself for the trip and I just hope to drum up as much support as possible for the charity and really raise awareness of the great work they do.

"I'm a keen motorcyclist and this is by far the most daunting road trip I'll ever face. I'm going to be away from Scotland for around nine weeks and I'll miss my family and friends but will be keeping in touch as much as possible. I've made sure my fitness is good and I think apart from the weather and road conditions, my biggest challenge will be tiredness.

"I just can't wait to get going!"

Richard also has a page on the Just Giving website. People who wish to donate can do so via justgiving.com/TransAmericaTour

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.

CrossCountry is now live on Facebook at facebook.com/crosscountrytrains.

Follow CrossCountry on Twitter via twitter.com/crosscountryuk.

CrossCountry facts and figures

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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