Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership is making face coverings available free of charge to rail passengers who need them helping passengers travel safely this summer.

The UK made masks have been produced to distribute to Bishop Line passengers to help them travel safely. They aim to help increase passenger confidence since the government has advised that people may use public transport where walking or cycling is not possible.

Face coverings are now a requirement when travelling on public transport and will be mandatory when visiting shops and supermarkets from tomorrow (24th July).

Robert Whitehouse, Chair of the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership commented “The Bishop Line is a vital transport link connecting communities between Darlington and Bishop Auckland. Many passengers using the train do so for shopping and leisure journeys, both of which have seen a huge drop in passenger numbers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now that the government has made public transport available to more people for journeys where walking or cycling is not possible, we want to help our community to feel safe when travelling by train. Insights from the latest Transport Focus Covid-19 Travel Survey – week 11, tell us that currently two thirds (65%) of people surveyed in the UK agree that face coverings will improve feelings of safety.”

He added “We also recognize the thought of wearing a mask can be a little daunting, it can also make it more difficult to connect with fellow passengers so we added the Bishop Line smile to bring a bit of happiness into our passengers day.’

The masks are available from Bishop Auckland Station while stocks last and will be given out thanks to the support of Bishop Trains staff.

They are available in a variety of sizes, free of charge and the sizes are as follows:

Small (older child): 160 x 75mm | 140mm

Medium: 160 x 75mm | 150mm

Large: 160 x 85mm | 190mm

Extra Large: 160 x 85mm | 210mm

The masks selected are made here in the UK from a soft polyester material with elastic straps, whilst this product is not suitable for medical use, it is great for adding extra protection from the spread of germs. Complete with an internal pouch suitable for adding your own carbon filter (filter not provided). This mask is machine washable at 60 degrees, ensuring that it can be cleaned and worn time and time again.