A NEW community rail officer has been appointed to keep trains running smoothly between Bishop Auckland and Darlington.

The Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has appointed Felicity Machnicki as the new officer and member of its steering group.

Ms Machnicki joins The Bishop Line CRP, from Let’s Go Tees Valley. She will be responsible for implementing the four pillars of the Department for Transport’s new Community Rail Strategy for the needs of the residents and businesses served by the Bishop Line.

In a statement, the Partnership said: “Felicity has been tasked to take the partnership’s relationship with the local community to a new level; she will engage with a variety of groups to establish their needs in terms of local rail travel and will aim to break down any barriers to choosing rail travel for commuting, education, leisure or tourism.”

Chairman of the Partnership, Charlie Walton said: “Felicity will be a great ambassador as our new community rail officer. She brings with her marketing and communications experience gained from the premium leisure and automotive sectors, along with recent local government experience. Felicity has supported the partnership with its marketing needs for the past four years and starts her new role with a strong understanding of the Bishop Line. We look forward to working with her to build on the work she has already initiated.”

Ms Machnicki replaces Bob Whitehouse who was in the role for ten years and has left the legacy of a successful hourly service, station adoption groups and a strong working partnership with the company, Northern.

She said: “I can see the positive impact which can come about from successfully working with our communities and I look forward to meeting as many residents, businesses, students and teachers, tourist attractions and charities along the Bishop Line as possible. I shall spend time with each group to understand their views of local rail travel, and develop from that a strategy to improve the experience of using the Bishop Line over the coming years.”

For more information email Felicity.Machnicki@BishopLine.org