The number of people travelling on CrossCountry trains has reportedly increased by 40% since the introduction in September 2002 of new trains and a new timetable providing many more trains and more regular departures.

So many people are trying to travel on some of the most popular trains that inter-city 125 trains with a bigger seating capacity are to be brought back into service form Monday 13 January 2003.

The highly popular inter-city 125s were withdrawn when Virgin introduced new Voyager trains on the CrossCountry network which is centred on Birmingham New Street and provides trains services t many British cities, including Bournemouth, Edinburgh and Preston. CrossCountry runs 250 trains a day.

Now they will work alongside the new Voyager trains to ease overcrowding.

Eight lightly loaded early morning or evening Voyager-operated services are being withdrawn to improve the reliability of the rest of the service.

Virgin Trains is also applying to the Strategic Rail Authority for 38 new coaches which will allow the 78 Voyager units to be expanded to make all five-coach units.

Virgin wants to keep some Voyagers on standby ready to be drafted in if there are delays or cancellations.