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Cross Country

What is happening now?

The present Cross Country franchise, operated by Arriva UK Trains, is due to end in October 2016. However, it is anticipated that the Department for Transport (DfT) will negotiate a new short-term franchise (known as a direct award) with the current operator to run for the period until October 2019.


The timetable for the next franchise competition will start when the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) Notice is published in April 2018. This will be followed by consultation, invitations to prospective bidders to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, leading to a list of shortlisted bidders, before the Invitation to Tender (ITT) is issued in September 2018. The new franchise will be awarded in July 2019, ready to start in October.

Our role in the franchising process

We are involved in ongoing discussions with the DfT as they negotiate a direct award with the current operator. We continue to press for the passenger outcomes we believe this contract should deliver, including promoting the benefits of potential targets for passenger satisfaction. 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 and we will be publishing the findings soon.

To view our National Rail Passenger Survey reports or to access these and our appeal complaints data through our Data Explorer tool, please click on the links below:

NRPS                                                                Data Explorer

Transport Focus reports and publications

February 2016 CrossCountry franchise Direct Award – Transport Focus submission to the DfT

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