Train Review: CrossCountry (First Class)
CrossCountry is one of the biggest train operators in the United Kingdom. CrossCountry operates on several routes in the United Kingdom from the South to the North. However, the company doesn’t have any trains to or from London, but pretty much everywhere else. In this review, I’ll explain what you can expect of the CrossCountry First Class.
I’ve already reviewed the Great Western Railway Second Class here on traveluxblog and will have more reviews including the GWR First Class and CrossCountry Second Class coming up. Yet, today it’s all about the CrossCountry First Class, which I enjoyed quite a lot. Especially compared to the ICE First Class, which I’m used from Germany, the CrossCountry First Class is a huge upgrade.
Seating in the CrossCountry First Class
The First Class in CrossCountry trains is in individual coaches, which are usually located at the front or the back of the train. These coaches come with fewer seats and a 1-2 configuration (Second Class comes with a 2-2 configuration and less seat pitch).
The interior of the coaches looks fine, but not luxurious by any stretch. The seats have a burgundy color and a decent padding. As you’d expect, there are different seating arrangements in the CrossCountry First Class, from tables for four people to tables for two people, individual seats and seats right next to each other. All seats have a great seat pitch, making it comfortable to stretch out.
I also liked how the seats on the right and left side were slightly staggered for added privacy. All in all, I’d say that the CrossCountry First Class is quite nice, especially due to the added space and the fewer people taking trains in First Class.
Catering in the CrossCountry First Class
The catering concept of the CrossCountry First Class is slightly confusing. There is some complimentary food alongside complimentary drinks in First Class. However, the offerings differ between weekdays and weekends (including bank holidays) as well as the time of the day.
On weekdays, CrossCountry offers a complimentary selection of breakfast items and an afternoon tea with a sweet and a savoury option. At all other times and on weekends, only small snacks including whole fruits, crisps, cookies and such are available for free in the CrossCountry First Class. Water and soft drinks are generally complimentary as well.
In addition to these offerings, you can purchase additional items right at your seats. I must admit that I was especially amazed by the great service in the Cross Country First Class. The server was not only very kind, but also asked for me snacks and drinks several times. Just great!
Entertainment in the CrossCountry First Class
If you are travelling in the CrossCountry First Class, you can make use of the complimentary Wi-Fi for First Class passengers.
I was surprised that the speed was actually quite good on my ride from Bristol to Exeter. Usually, the Wi-Fi in Second Class isn’t especially amazing on this route, so First Class seems to be a substantial upgrade in this regard. However, you should be aware that streaming services, file sharing etc. are no allowed on board CrossCountry trains.
There is also a plug for each two seats, which allows you to keep your devices charged.
Overall impression of the CrossCountry First Class
It’s sort-of funny: I’d highly prefer the ICE Second Class over any English train Second Class, while I loved the First Class and would take it over the German version any day. CrossCountry offers a nice cabin with comfortable seats, good Wi-Fi and a puzzling, but nice catering menu. This combined with a very good service made up for an amazing ride. I’d book the CrossCountry First Class again in a heartbeat.