Passengers in the North East will be able to have more of a say on how local rail services are run with the designation of the Bishop Line between Darlington and Bishop Auckland as a community rail service, Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers, announced today (13 January 2013).
Designation enables train companies to work more closely with community rail partnerships to better design services to meet local need.
Theresa Villiers said:
We want to encourage more passengers on to trains and that’s why I am delighted to be able to make this announcement which means that local communities can become even more involved in how these services run and encourage train companies to provide the services local people want.
Ian Bevan, Managing Director of Northern Rail, which runs services on the Bishop Line, said:
The community rail partnership for the Bishop Line is already doing a great job and designation will enable it to go from strength to strength. It will also assist in identifying innovative ways of developing the line to the benefit of local people and visitors to the area.
Charlie Walton, Chairman of the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership, said:
I welcome community service designation as a further step towards a successful and productive partnership between the rail industry, local authorities, rail users and other interested parties which will result in an improved service encouraging more people to use the line more frequently
Notes to editors
The community rail development strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local branch lines, through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via local authorities, community rail partnerships, and other stakeholder groups.
To date, 17 lines with their services have been designated as community rail lines:
- St Ives Bay Line: St Erth to St Ives June 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects
- Abbey Line: St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction June 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects
- Esk Valley Line: Middlesbrough to Whitby June 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot lines
- Tamar Valley Line: Plymouth to Gunnislake September 2005. Linked with Looe Valley as one of the 6 pilot projects.
- Looe Valley Line: Liskeard to Looe September 2005. Linked with Tamar Valley as one of the 6 pilot projects.
- Penistone Line: Barnsley to Huddersfield September 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects.
- Island Line: Isle of Wight (Ryde to Shanklin), March 2006
- Tarka Line: Barnstaple to Cowley Junction Exeter, September 2006
- Maritime Line: Falmouth to Truro September 2006
- Derwent Valley: Derby to Matlock September 2006
- East Lancashire Line: Colne to Gannow Junction Burnley November 2006
- Gainsborough Line: Marks Tey to Sudbury November 2006
- Barton Line: Barton-on-Humber to Ulceby N. Junction January 2007
- Bittern Line: Norwich to Sheringham September 2007
- Lakes Line: Oxenholme - Windermere April 2008
- South Fylde Line: Blackpool South - Preston April 2008
- Lymington Line: Brockenhurst - Lymington July 2008
Additionally, 10 services have been designated as community rail services whilst not designating the lines on which they run. These services are designated when there are reasons why the infrastructure cannot be included in the designation - because it carries non local traffic or heavy freight or has previously been designated as part of the Trans European Network. To date the following services have been designated:
- Poacher Line: Grantham to Skegness July 2006. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects
- Atlantic Coast Line: Newquay to Par September 2006
- Marston Vale Line: Bletchley to Bedford November 2006
- Wherry Lines : Norwich to Yarmouth & Lowestoft - via Berney Arms and Acle January 2007 (2 services)
- Clitheroe Line: Manchester to Clitheroe March 2007
- Medway Valley Line: Paddock Wood to Strood September 2007
- Severn Beach Line: Bristol Temple Meads - Severn Beach April 2008
- North Staffordshire Line: Crewe - Derby via Stoke - on -Trent November 2008
- Cumbrian Coast Line: Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness September 2009