The Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership is once again giving passengers free ‘friendly’ face coverings at Bishop Auckland Station.

As the world starts to open up again, many of the population have now been vaccinated, and the number of people travelling by train along the Bishop Line begins to increase, the partnership is asking passengers to be mindful of fellow travellers.

During the past year passengers classed as key or essential workers have continued to use the train and have grown comfortable doing so, however passengers who have been shielding, homeworking or just not needed to travel, may find it daunting returning to train travel. This is where the partnership is asking for the help of its passengers to make everyone’s journey as friendly and comfortable as possible.

Felicity Machnicki, officer for the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership and mental health first aider at Darlington borough council commented,

“Bishop Line ‘friendly’ face coverings are available free of charge to passengers to help ‘pass on a smile’ to people returning to the railway. As our passengers return to the Bishop Line, we’d like to see the sense of community return too.

“Face coverings are still essential to help control the spread of coronavirus along with other measures, but they can take away some of the social interaction which take place when you travel by train. A smile from fellow passenger could make someone feel more comfortable on their first train journey since lockdown. With spirits raised they pass on that smile to another passenger, and so on. We designed the ‘friendly’ face coverings to start that chain reaction and help bring a sense of comfort  back to our passengers during these changing times”.

Marie Addison, Community and Sustainability Manager for Northern, added:

“At Northern, we are working hard to make travelling by train safe, by cleaning all carriages and key stations every day, placing extra focus on cleaning touchpoints like handrails and armrests, using an anti-viral sanitiser which stops the virus for longer plus our staff are on hand to help and are working harder than ever to make travelling on the Bishop Line safe and enjoyable”.

Whether you’re taking your first trip by train since lockdown or you’re a seasoned traveller there are some precautions set by the government which you should follow to help keep yourself, other passengers and transport staff safe:

  • You must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs in England, unless you are exempt
  • You should stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre while wearing a face covering.
  • limit the number of people or households that you come into contact with, for example, by avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times, such as the rush hour
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • avoid loud talking, shouting or singing
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • avoid touching your face
  • only touch surfaces where required for safe travel
  • dispose of waste safely, including items such as used disposable face coverings


The ‘friendly’ face coverings are available from Bishop Auckland Station while stocks last and will be given out thanks to the support of Bishop Trains staff.