Passengers on CrossCountry trains are set to benefit from improvements after a £2.5 million investment was confirmed by the Rail Minister.
Thousands of passengers who travel from Birmingham to Nottingham, Leicester and Cardiff will benefit from improvements to CrossCountry trains which will see more than 24,000 seats added each week to tackle the issue of congestion.
From May 2020, CrossCountry trains in the aforementioned areas will be longer, delivering more than 5,000 extra seats each week.
From mid-2021, a further 15,000 extra seats will be added each week, including to and from Cambridge and Stansted Airport, which will provide a major boost for the businesses in the region, as well as commuters and leisure travellers.
The funding was agreed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and CrossCountry in a bid to reduce overcrowding; plans are being finalised to deliver thousands of extra seats on long distance routes from the end of this year, with the longer trains operating on services from Mondays to Thursdays on the routes from Scotland, the North East and Manchester to the South West, as well as the South Coast.
In the years to come, further improvements will be made once more rolling stock is available, especially on longer distance routes served by CrossCountry trains.
Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, explained what the funding will achieve and why it has been awarded.
“Investing in transport is essential to levelling up the country, as we look to modernise our rail network and restructure the industry to put passengers at the heart of the railway.
“But we want to fund benefits to address pressing needs and improve journeys for passengers in the short-term, as well as in the future.
“More seats mean more people can travel, increasing access to opportunities and better connecting our regions.”
The funding comes after an agreement last year to extend the CrossCountry franchise to October 2020, and it is hoped they deliver where others haven’t managed to do so.