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Cross Country (CrossCountry)

Cross Country

What is happening now?

The present Cross Country franchise is operated by Arriva UK Trains. A public consultation closed on 30 August 2018 and we have published our response. It was anticipated the consultation will inform any improvements to the franchise in the future. Pending the outcome of a comprehensive Rail Review announced by the Government in October 2018, the competition for this franchise has been postponed.


The DfT previously awarded a new, short-term franchise to the existing operator (known as a direct award) in September 2016.

Our role in the franchising process

We are working closely with the DfT as it shapes the competition for the new franchise. We have drafted a foreword for the prospectus, and will be engaging in discussions to place the passenger voice at the heart of the specification for the franchise. We will work with bidders to ensure that their plans are centred around the things that are important to passengers. We presented our passenger research at a series of consultation events during summer 2018 and also responded to the consultation.

We were involved in discussions with the DfT as they negotiated the direct award with the current operator. We pressed for the outcomes for passengers we believe this contract should deliver, including promoting the benefits of targets for passenger satisfaction which were included in the agreement. We set out our proposals for the direct award outlining the high level issues we think should be considered.

Towards the end of 2015 we carried out research to explore passengers’ current experiences and aspirations for the future. A further study was conducted in early 2018 looking at passengers’ experiences of interchange and the reasons why some rail users and other travellers do not use CrossCountry.


The National Rail Passenger Survey gives a twice-yearly view of passenger satisfaction on CrossCountry. Further research is set out in the table below.

Transport Focus reports and publications
September 2018 CrossCountry rail franchise: consultation response
June 2018 CrossCountry additional passenger research
October 2017 CrossCountry passenger research
February 2016 CrossCountry franchise Direct Award – Transport Focus submission to the DfT

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