Cross Country Route


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 12 in) Standard gauge
[v · d · e]Cross Country Route
Legend
Head station
York
Station on track
Leeds
Station on track
Wakefield Westgate
Station on track
Sheffield
Station on track
Dronfield
Station on track
Chesterfield
Station on track
Derby
Station on track
Willington
Station on track
Burton upon Trent
Station on track
Tamworth
Station on track
Wilnecote
Station on track
Water Orton
Station on track
Birmingham New Street
Station on track
Bromsgrove
Station on track
Ashchurch for Tewkesbury
Station on track
Cheltenham Spa
Transverse terminus from left Unknown BSicon "ABZrd"
Gloucester
Station on track
Bristol Parkway
End station
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.

Contents

History

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.[citation needed]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, the network was served by High Speed Trains, and Class 47s, which hauled various types of coaching stock.

Route

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.

Services

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.

See also

References


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