Santa Claus is Coming to Town... by Train

Dec 22, 2010, 10:05 ET from CrossCountry Trains

MANCHESTER, England, December 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Could Rudolph be out of a job as Santa ditches his sleigh to climb aboard the 'CrossCountry Christmas Express' to deliver the 77 million presents expected to travel by train this year?

Without his faithful red nosed friend, let's hope Santa is prepared for the 31 per cent of rail passengers who have been putting together their Christmas lists. It appears there's going to be some strange gifts in Santa's sack this year!

In a survey recently conducted by CrossCountry Trains, over a third of people won't be driving home for Christmas as they ditch the chaos of the icy roads to travel by train. But what about the presents that need to travel with them?

The survey showed that the average rail passenger is planning on carrying five Christmas gifts in the remaining days leading up to Christmas. Amongst the strangest list of items people plan to give this year are fish tanks, pot bellied pigs, football goalposts, bird tables, a ten person sized cracker and an oversized stuffed bear.

David Watkin, Commercial Director at CrossCountry, comments: "We have a lot of experience with helping passengers to carry unusual items to their destinations; seeing passengers travel with unusual pets, wedding dresses and even life size Smurfs, so we welcome all passengers and their gifts onboard CrossCountry this Christmas.

"It's pleasing to see more and more people each year choosing to travel home for Christmas by train."

Topping the charts for the strangest Christmas presents to be seen on a train are:

    1. A pot-bellied pig

    2. A set of football goalposts

    3. A bird table

    4. Stuffed animal

    5. Rocking horse

    6. Snake

    7. Squid

    8. 10 person sized Christmas cracker

    9. Pantomime Horse

    10. Fish tank

Last year CrossCountry carried thousands of passengers on journeys home over the Christmas period and this year expects to see that figure rise as people continue to battle against the Christmas cold spell.

For travellers planning on walking their presents on-board 'two by two', in respect of fellow passengers, CrossCountry unfortunately cannot accommodate lions, tigers or bears. Cats, dogs are of course welcome whilst unfortunately livestock will have to join Rudolph in making alternative arrangements this year.

*the number of presents is based on 31 per cent of the adult UK population travelling by train and each carrying an average of five presents.

Please find notes to Editors, CrossCountry facts and figures below.

Notes to editors

CrossCountry started operating on 11 November 2007. The franchise, which is the most extensive in the UK, will run until 31 March 2016. For further information on CrossCountry services and future franchise plans log on to http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk

CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group, which is owned by Deutsche Bahn. Arriva is a leading pan-European public transport operators with more than 38,500 employees and operations across 11 European countries. The link to Arriva is http://www.arriva.co.uk. The link to Deutsche Bahn is http://www.deutschebahn.com

    CrossCountry is now live on Facebook
http://www.facebook/crosscountrytrains
    Follow us on Twitter via http://www.twitter.com/crosscountryuk
    CrossCountry facts and figures:
    STATIONS SERVED: 118
    ROUTE MILES: 1,478
    WEEKDAY SERVICES: 295
    PASSENGERS CARRIED: Over 30 million passenger journeys a year anticipated
    ANNUAL TRAIN MILEAGE: Approximately 16 million
    EMPLOYEES: Approximately 1,600
    LONGEST TRAIN SERVICE: 08.20 Aberdeen to Penzance (774 miles)

SOURCE CrossCountry Trains