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Preacher draws on rail life for inspiration

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Local Lay Preacher Jonathan Drummond-Smith has explained how everyday situations he witnesses whilst working for a leading train company help to inspire his church sermons.

CrossCountry Retail Service Manager Jonathan, 62, from Torquay has been preaching to a congregation of 50 people at St. Luke's Anglican Church in Torquay since 1994. Previously, Jonathan ran a model railway shop and it wasn't until the birth of his son Ian that he decided to join the church.

After becoming a server at St Luke's he was accepted as a trainee Lay Reader and eventually gained his licence to preach, make pastoral visits and provide counselling to local residents. Jonathan says his training helps him to be a good listener and present a friendly face to his customers on board.

Equally, Jonathan finds inspiration for his sermons whilst doing his job for CrossCountry. One particular incident where he watched people saying goodbye to loved ones on a platform inspired one of his sermons at the church.

Jonathan said: "Every day I am on the look-out for something that can be used as a preaching aid. People's stories and conversations on the railways can trigger thoughts that I will later use to illustrate a theme when preaching."

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Kelly Mortlock or Jack Storry on 020 7025 7522 or email


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

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 42,000 employees and operations across 12 European countries. The link to Arriva is The link to Deutsche Bahn is

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CrossCountry bookings

Passengers can buy tickets for any rail journey in Britain, with any train company and with no booking fee at or via the free CrossCountry Train Tickets app.Download the app by visiting your app store or by texting TRAVEL to 87080.

CrossCountry facts and figures

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)

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