CrossCountry, a train operating company in the UK, has signed a new contract to continue operating passenger rail services for three additional years.

The contract will become effective on 18 October and will run until October 2023.

Part of the Arriva group, CrossCountry operates intercity and long-distance trains calling at more than 100 stations in the country.

CrossCountry’s network stretches from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted Airport to Cardiff, making it the most geographically extensive passenger rail franchise in the UK.

UK Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This agreement ensures that vital train services will continue across the UK’s most extensive rail network, as the country continues to fight and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The deal announced today reaffirms our commitment to ending the complicated franchise system and is focused on the best interests of passengers, delivering better services and helping create a new kind of railway.”

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By GlobalData

CrossCountry welcomed the extension and noted that the new contract includes several benefits to improve passenger experience.

Notably, the UK scrapped the rail franchising model last month as part of its efforts to reform the country’s railway system.

It was replaced with Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) of 18 months where the government assumed the revenue and cost risks associated with running the franchises. In turn, the operators will be receiving a small management fee to run the services.

The latest contract is aligned with the ERMA system where CrossCountry will receive a performance-linked fee to run the service.