- Cross Country Route
Cross Country Route
A class 221 Super Voyager leaving Bristol Temple Meads station
Overview Type Suburban rail, Heavy rail System National Rail Status Operational Termini York
Bristol Temple Meads
Stations 19 Operation Owner Network Rail Operator(s) CrossCountry (principal operator) Rolling stock Class 220 "Voyager" (main stock)
Class 221 "Super Voyager" (main stock)
Class 43 "HST"
Technical Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Standard gauge Cross Country RouteLegend York Leeds Wakefield Westgate Sheffield Dronfield Chesterfield Derby Willington Burton upon Trent Tamworth Wilnecote Water Orton Birmingham New Street Bromsgrove Ashchurch for Tewkesbury Cheltenham Spa Gloucester Bristol Parkway Bristol Temple Meads
The North-East/South-West route (sometimes simply The Cross-Country Route) is the major British rail route running from South West England via Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds to North-East England. It facilitates some of the longest inter-city rail journeys in the UK such as Penzance to Aberdeen. It was also a major freight route, although in this role it has now largely been usurped by the M5, M6 and M1 motorways.
The Birmingham to Bristol section was originally built as the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway and the Bristol and Gloucester Railway, which then briefly amalgamated as the Birmingham and Bristol Railway before joining the Midland Railway. From Birmingham northwards, the line originated as the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway to Derby, then the North Midland Railway to Leeds, then the York and North Midland Railway.
It ran through several regions of British Rail and had timetabling priority in none of them, and as a result the services were poorly promoted and thus not always well-patronised. This was offset somewhat on privatisation when the route was awarded as a single franchise to Virgin Trains.
In the 1960s the route was understood to be pencilled in for electrification — this would have been particularly beneficial for climbing the Lickey Incline into Birmingham from Cheltenham, as many of the early diesels were underpowered. However, this improvement did not take place, and modern, more powerful multiple-units such as the new Turbostars and Voyagers have made this unnecessary.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, the network was served by High Speed Trains, and Class 47s, which hauled various types of coaching stock.
The route is well-connected, meeting amongst others the Great Western Main Line, West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line, Sheffield to Hull Line, and the East Coast Main Line. Places served along the route include:
Milepost zero for Derby to Bristol is at Derby, hence a northbound train, for instance, will start out going "up" then change to "down". The Birmingham to Derby section of the route has a line speed of 125 mph (200 km/h), however Birmingham to Bristol is restricted to 100 mph (160 km/h) due to a number of half barrier level crossings.
Most long distance services on the route are operated by Class 220/221 Voyager Trains, although a few services operate using Class 43 HSTs. These trains are capable of achieving 125 mph (200 km/h), compared to the previous Class 47s and Mk 2 coaching stock, which had a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h). Since the Voyager trains arrived the XC network has stopped serving Inverness, Blackpool, Portsmouth, London Paddington and Liverpool.
Main inter-regional railway lines in Great Britain Railway lines in the South West PrimaryCross Country Route · Great Western Main Line Secondary LocalAtlantic Coast Line · Avocet Line · Bristol to Taunton Line · Cornish Main Line · Cotswold Line · Gloucester to Newport Line · Golden Valley Line · Heart of Wessex Line · Henbury Loop · Looe Valley Line · Lostwithiel to Fowey · Maritime Line · Portishead Branch · Riviera Line · Severn Beach Line · St Ives Bay Line · Tamar Valley Line · Tarka Line · Wessex Main Line Heritage Railway lines in the West Midlands PrimaryCross Country Route · West Coast Main Line Secondary LocalBirmingham to Peterborough Line · Birmingham to Stratford Line · Birmingham to Worcester via Bromsgrove Line · Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line · South Staffordshire Line · Chase Line · Cotswold Line · Coventry to Leamington Line · Coventry to Nuneaton Line · Crewe-Derby Line · Cross-City Line · Leamington to Stratford Line · Northampton Loop Line · Rugby–Birmingham–Stafford Line · Shrewsbury to Chester Line · Stafford to Manchester Line · Stourbridge Town Branch Line · Walsall to Wolverhampton Line · Welsh Marches Line · Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line Railway lines in Yorkshire and the Humber Primary LocalAiredale Line · Askern Branch Line · Barton Line · Caldervale Line · Dearne Valley Line · Doncaster to Lincoln Line · Esk Valley Line · Hallam Line · Harrogate Line · Hope Valley Line · Huddersfield Line · Hull to York Line · Leeds to Morecambe Line · Leeds-Bradford Lines · Leeds-Northallerton Railway · Northallerton–Eaglescliffe Line · Penistone Line · Pontefract Line · Settle-Carlisle Line · Sheffield to Hull Line · Sheffield to Lincoln Line · Wakefield Line · Wharfedale Line · York & Selby Lines · Yorkshire Coast Line · York to Scarborough Line Transport in Worcestershire Road Motorways A-Roads Service Stations Other Rail Main lines Closed lines Stations Closed stations Heritage stations Other Buses RoutesList of bus routes in Worcestershire • Worcestershire bus route 144 • West Midlands Bristol Road bus corridor Companies OtherBus transport in Bromsgrove Waterways Rivers Canals Other Footpaths Long-distance footpaths Cycle Paths Transport in Bristol Road Motorways European Routes A roads Bus Cycling Rail Railway lines Stations OtherGreater Bristol Metro Air Waterways Sea Public Transport Bridges
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