Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership welcomes Caroline Pearce as its new Chairperson following the sad passing of Bob Whitehouse in November 2022.

Caroline has been linked with the partnership since 2016, working closely with Bob on the Our Line – theatre on trains project and later with the current officer Felicity on the Our Line Connections project, whilst managing Luxi – a not for profit production company. Together Luxi and the Bishop Line CRP achieved great success and their collaboration recognised in local and national awards. In 2022 Our Line Connections came 3rd place in the Community Rail Awards for Best project involving diverse groups, and in 2021 the double-act was shortlisted for Best Arts and Business Partnership at the Journal Culture Awards.

Four friendly people with a banner featuring the bishop line logo and smiley face icon

Felicity Machnicki – officer, Caroline Pearce – chairperson, Marie Addison – Northern customer & sustainability manager, Charlie Walton – vice chair.


Caroline now runs a coaching business and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience of helping organisations and individuals to achieve their goals. She also has a great deal of knowledge of the Bishop Line area, the communities which it serves and the context of community rail.

Caroline is looking forward to working closely with partnership officer Felicity, vice chair Carlie Walton and the partnership steering group in the coming months, growing the membership of the partnership, attracting new and engaged members who have a passion for making things better for the local area and building connections with existing members.

It is an exciting time for the partnership as work continues on many projects in a variety of contexts;

The Bishop Line strongly promotes rail safety to young people in the area and hosted a rail safety day for local schools at Locomotion in May with representatives from Network Rail, British Transport Police, Northern, The Railway Children, Cross Country and LNER. The partnership were greatly encouraged by the level of support locally too from Weardale Railway and Tyne Valley CRP.

Progress continues on creative projects such as Storylines, where local musician Sam Slatcher, recognised for his links with the Story Train at Stanhope, is leading a group of artists to collect stories and memories from passengers on board the Bishop Line. These stories will be translated into music, poetry and a play to celebrate the significance of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in the run up to its 200th anniversary in 2025. A celebration event is planned for 27th September 2023, find out more here

The partnership is also building strong links with local attractions The Auckland Project, Locomotion and the Head of Steam Railway Museum in Darlington which will re-open in June, and with Northern to create rail products which make travelling by train attractive to more people.
And finally the partnership will welcome an additional officer in September who will focus on rail education with schools and community groups along the line.

If you would like to be involved in the exciting work that the Partnership does in the community along the Bishop Line between Bishop Auckland and Darlington please get in touch.