Historic Darlington railway line awarded special status
Passengers in County Durham now have the chance to become more involved in the running of a local railway line, one of the oldest in the world.
The Bishop Auckland to Darlington route has been designated as a community rail service by the government.
This gives communities more influence over how it operates, and paves the way to bid for additional funding.
Known as the Bishop Line, it follows the route of the original Stockton to Darlington Railway.
The new status will enable operator Northern Rail, and its partners Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council, working with the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership, to bid for additional funding.
Adrian White, Durham County Council's head of transport, said: "The Bishop Line provides a convenient and reliable rail link between Bishop Auckland and Darlington and is very popular with both commuters and tourists.
"The awarding of community rail line status is excellent news as it gives us the opportunity to secure extra funding and manage the service so it better meets the needs not just of travellers but of local residents and businesses as well."