Virgin committed to CrossCountry franchise
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Virgin committed to CrossCountry franchise
type Press release
note Press Release • Jan 23, 2006 23:00 GMT
Virgin Trains confirmed it is committed to the CrossCountry franchise ahead of the open competition for refranchising the operation.
CrossCountry operates the services from Manchester to Birmingham, Reading and the South Coast as well as those from Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Speaking in Bournemouth today Virgin CrossCountry Managing Director Chris Gibb said: “We are now reaping the benefits of the massive investment scheme implemented after Virgin took over the CrossCountry franchise in 1997. The entire train fleet has been replaced and we are now running around 70% more services a day.
Mr Gibb added: “We have recruited many excellent people from all walks of life, most of whom were new to the rail industry, and we aim to build on everything that we have achieved in the last eight years. We are rapidly becoming a company our customers choose above all other forms of travel and everyone at CrossCountry is fully committed to building on the company’s successes.”
Virgin CrossCountry’s shareholders have made it clear that they intend to bid for the re-mapped franchise, to continue the huge growth in passenger numbers and improvements in performance.
On the Reading route which links the south coast with the West Midlands business travel is up by a staggering 181% since September 2002, when the CrossCountry network was re-launched. Business travel between Bournemouth and Southampton Airport Parkway has increased by 61% and between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst by 50%. Leisure travel between Brockenhurst and Southampton has increased by 43%.
Virgin Trains, which operates the CrossCountry franchise, has increased passengers numbers from 12million a year in 1997, when Virgin took over the franchise, to 19.6 million last year. The operator has now broken through the 20 million passenger journey barrier mark for the first time since CrossCountry was created in 1966 under British Rail.
Performance has also improved with the Moving Annual Average (MAA) at 80% of trains on time. During the four weeks ending 7 January, 78.9% of trains were on time. The annual MAA figure almost equals the high in July 1998, when CrossCountry recorded 80.2% but with only two thirds of the current number of trains on the CrossCountry network.
The news of better punctuality coincides with the Government’s announcement that the CrossCountry franchise is to grow further, with more routes proposed for the 1,500-mile network, Britain’s longest inter-city franchise. The expansion of the franchise comes as a result of the Department for Transport’s decision to end the Central Trains and Silverlink franchises from autumn 2007. As part of the re-mapping process, Virgin CrossCountry’s franchise will be re-let in autumn 2007 Two ‘new’ franchises, West Midlands and East Midlands franchises are also being created.
Virgin CrossCountry’s shareholders have made it clear that they intend to bid for the re-mapped franchise, to continue the huge growth in passenger numbers and improvements in performance. The shareholders will also consider the both the West Midlands and East Midlands franchises when it becomes clear exactly what is on offer.
The proposed new Cross Country franchise is as follows (routes marked with an asterisk are additional services)
Birmingham – Reading / The South
Birmingham – Bristol – South West
Birmingham – North East – Scotland
Birmingham – North West – Scotland
Birmingham – Manchester
Manchester – Scotland
Cardiff – Nottingham*
Hereford – Nottingham*
Birmingham – Stansted*
Development of CrossCountry since beginning of the franchise in 1997
Trains operated daily 110 184
Train miles per annum 9.6m 17.3m
Passenger journeys daily 33,058 53,168
Passenger journeys yearly 12m 19.3m
Passenger miles travelled 725m 1,579.4m
New trains 78 (352 coaches)
Trains operated daily XC up 74 (+67.3%)
Train miles per annum XC up 6.6m (+73.9%)
Passenger journeys daily XC up 20,110 (+60.8%)
Passenger journeys yearly XC up 7.3m (+60.8%)
Passenger miles travelled pa XC up 854.4m (+117.8%)
The biggest increases in passenger numbers have come in the three years since CrossCountry’s ‘Operation Princess’ launched the high-speed Voyager trains and a new simplified timetable on 30 September 2002.
Since September 2002:
Business travel between Edinburgh and Leeds has increased by 25%
Travel between Glasgow and Leeds has increased by 37%
Business travel between Leeds and Derby has increased by 258%
Business travel between Leeds and Bristol has increased by 169%
Business travel between Newcastle/Darlington and Birmingham has increased by 244%
Leisure travel between York and Darlington has increased by 135%
Leisure travel between York and Wakefield has increased by 48%
Leisure travel between Darlington and Newcastle has increased by 419%
Leisure travel between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh has increased by 87%
Business travel between Warrington and Birmingham has increased by 145%
Business travel between Birmingham and Preston has increased by 87%
Leisure travel between Manchester and Bristol has increased by 24%
Business travel between Birmingham and Newcastle has increased by 244%
Leisure traffic between Banbury and Birmingham has increased by 41%
Leisure traffic between Oxford and Southampton has increased by 21%
Business travel between Reading and Manchester has increased by 181%
Business travel between Oxford and Manchester has increased by 126%
Business travel between Bournemouth and Southampton Airport Parkway has increased by 61%
Business travel between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst has increased by 50%
Leisure travel between Brockenhurst and Southampton has increased by 43%
Leisure travel between Southampton and Oxford has increased by 21%
Railhub Archive ::: 2006-01-23 VIR-001