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CrossCountry trains criss-cross Great Britain and link up cities while avoiding London.

Who is CrossCountry?

CrossCountry runs trains across the length and breadth of Great Britain. Their fleet of 92 trains stop at 120 stations, though CrossCountry themselves don’t run any stations of their own.

Do they offer cheap fares? Not really! CrossCountry are infamous for their incredibly high fares on longer journeys. For example, an Anytime Return ticket from Newcastle to Birmingham will set you back £261.40. If you’re going from Birmingham to Bristol, it’s £140.10 for an Anytime Return.

It’s almost a necessity to book journeys in smaller chunks, even if you’re staying on the same train throughout. For example, an Anytime Return from Birmingham to Cheltenham is £50.20, and an Anytime Day Return from Cheltenham to Bristol is £20.90. That gives you a total of £71.10, a saving of nearly 50% against the fare we quoted above.

Want to know how to do this? Take a look at our guide to cheap fares to Bristol.

On board services


Overhead racks are available on all trains. On Voyager trains space in these is extremely limited with racks only taking very small items. Bulkier items can be stored in dedicated luggage areas in Coach D or J.

Food & Drink

On board trolley service is available on most services running between 06:00 and 20:00.


Free WiFi is available on all CrossCountry trains. Use up to 70MB every two hours in Standard Class and 100MB in First.

Travel with children

Voyager trains have two tables in most carriages but these have limited window views. No reservation? Head to Coach B or H for a better chance to find a table seat. There are four table in these carriages.


Bikes are accepted on all trains with a reservation. Book in with CrossCountry directly on their social media accounts or at a station ticket office. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.


Up to two dogs, cats or other small domestic animals can travel free. Your pet should wear a lead or be kept in a suitable carry crate.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

CrossCountry has two main fleets of trains. The first one is their Voyager and Super Voyager fleet. These trains run on the services which link Bristol, Plymouth, Bournemouth and Reading to the North West and North East of England. They have four or five carriages.

Every window seat has access to a power socket, and Standard Class seats are in a 2+2 layout. The unreserved carriage on these trains is in Coach F, and also in Coach B on five-car trains. There are only two full-sized tables in each Standard Class carriage, except in B where there are four. The storage area for the bulkiest luggage is in Coach D.

The other fleet is their Turbostar trains, which run on routes linking Cardiff and Birmingham to Nottingham, Leicester and Stansted Airport. They have two or three carriages.

There aren’t any power sockets on these trains in Standard Class. Coach B is unreserved on these trains (where available) which is the centre carriage of a three-coach train.

Can you travel in First Class?

Yes, CrossCountry offers First Class on all of its trains. You’ll get a bigger seat and table, and all window seats have a power socket. Seats are in a 2+1 layout. However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind when it comes to food and drink.

Firstly, make sure that you travel in Coach A. Some trains are formed of two sets joined together, and you can’t walk between them. In these cases, if only one member of staff is available, they’ll offer the First Class service in Coach A.

Secondly, not all routes have complimentary catering and it isn’t offered at all times. Check this map to see if you’ll get complimentary food and drink on your trip.

As for what’s available, there isn’t a detailed menu. Usually, it’s drinks and snacks, but it’s worth asking if sandwiches and more substantial options are on offer.

Information about routes

  • Plymouth to Edinburgh (via Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle)
  • Bristol Temple Meads to Manchester Piccadilly (via Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent)
  • Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly (via Southampton, Reading, Coventry, Birmingham)
  • Reading to Newcastle (via Birmingham, Sheffield, Doncaster, York)
  • Cardiff Central to Nottingham (via Gloucester, Birmingham, Derby)
  • Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport (via Leicester, Peterborough, Cambridge)
  • Birmingham New Street to Leicester (stopping service).

Certain trains also extend to serve Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow Central, Paignton and Penzance.

Fun Facts

CrossCountry operates the longest train service in Great Britain. It leaves Aberdeen at 08:20 and takes over 13 hours to reach Penzance in the far-reaches of Cornwall.