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Cross Country - a little better than the others
Member Name: TimListfield
Advantages: Good advanced fares. Serves a large area. Staff always try their best.
Disadvantages: Crowded, cramped and very uncomfortable mainline trains.
This service is actually a bit better than the other train services. For the money you pay, you actually do go a bit further (especially if you book in advance). However, like all the privatized rail network, this is still a poor service for what it should offer.
A few years ago, the franchise holders decided to replace a lot of the older stock. Great. Or so you might think. The mainline HST trains went from 8 coach, relatively relaxing and spacious trains with a buffet to a 4-5 coach, cramped service. Train usage was going up, and they cut the number of seat. Now it's telling. You can very rarely find a seat and when you do there is no leg room for anyone over 6 foot. It's genuinely uncomfortable. There is no luggage room either, and you will really struggle if you have a suitcase. On more crowded journeys, they do double the trains up. But you still have the problem over luggage and overcrowding.
There is a small trolley service that replaced the buffets, and if you're on a long journey you can no longer get hot food. It's just a selection of snacks.
The toilets are always dirty, and the trains themselves are often dirty.
All that said though, to the advanced booker they can be one of the better companies. You do get a little more for your money, and Cross Country does serve a large area, meaning if you're on the right train you won't have to change.
The staff are helpful, and do try to make the best of things.
Summary: A little better than most other train companies.
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