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Community rail crescendo

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The Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) has secured important new funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) and Arriva Rail North (ARN) which enabling it to expand and restructure. ACoRP 2.0 will be better equipped to help the changing face of the rail industry in future.

The organisation will be split into two departments – Operations and Commercial, each led by a senior manager. Overall, the organisation will be headed up by a chief executive recruited from outside the current structure. After a handover period, long- serving general manager Neil Buxton will leave the organisation and retire at the end of 2016. All other existing staff will remain with ACoRP in posts similar to those currently held. The charismatic leadership of Neil Buxton who emboldened and enlarged the community rail movement will be much missed.

Says Neil, ‘In the last decade, ACoRP has grown considerably in stature and influence, and I’m proud to have contributed to that. However, to stay ahead of the game, the organisation needs younger, fresher minds to deal with the new challenges being presented to the community rail sector.

‘Having been closely involved with the reorganisation since its inception, I firmly believe this is the way to go and I’m excited by the opportunities it will offer to improve our service delivery to both our membership and the wider rail industry.’

ACoRP chair Peter Roberts MBE confirmed that a series of new posts would be filled by January 2017.

‘We have been aware, from comments made by our members, of the need to restructure our business for some time, and the new funding streams that have become available have provided us with a unique opportunity to achieve that.

‘We are grateful to both DfT and ARN for their co-operation and assistance in making this possible. We are sorry to part company with Neil, who has been a loyal and valued member of our team for 16 years, and our general manager for the last 11 years. However, as he approaches retirement, he has acknowledged that new leadership is best to take ACoRP forward into the future, and has assisted throughout the long process of bringing this to fruition.

‘He will remain with us until the end of this year for a handover period while the new chief executive and other new post-holders settle in. We are especially grateful to him for his leadership during a challenging period for both ACoRP and the rail industry in general.’

The organisation will continue to be based at The Old Water Tower at Huddersfield station, where office alterations will be undertaken to accommodate the new staff.

Genial factotum Brian Barnsley becomes deputy chief executive and senior operations manager. Widely respected, Hazel Bonner, who has done much to pioneer a new movement, Women in Community Rail, becomes events and fundraising manager. Hard-working Dawn Wolrich becomes administration manager and the respected Martin Yallop becomes community stations development manager.