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New appointment on the Heart of Wales Line

The Heart of Wales Line Development Company has appointed a new acting development manager who will be working to promote the railway’s 150th birthday this year.

Rachel Francis has been appointed to the role with the community rail partnership until the end of the year. She succeeds David Edwards and Gill Wright who have both retired from their posts after 15 years’ service as general manager and development manager but continue as board members.

Having been involved in Community Rail for several years, Rachel most recently worked for Northern Rail’s community and sustainability programme. During her career, she has worked both as copy writer and project manager, largely in the Third Sector.

She lives close to the railway line and her three sons all went to school in Powys. A native of Devon, she has a farming background and moved to Wales 10 years ago. Two of her sons are farmers.

Rachel is also co-ordinating a series of special events this year to celebrate the railway’s 150th birthday.

“The 150th celebrations are a great opportunity to market the line further afield,” she said.

“We’ve got the new railway franchise for Wales and Borders coming up, so I’m also going to spend some time forward planning a small number of projects, community ideas that could contribute to the value and usefulness of the line regionally.

“And I’ve pledged to make our website bi-lingual, which is long overdue. These things matter.”

The railway stretches 120 miles from the Shropshire’s county town of Shrewsbury to the coastal city of Swansea on the South Wales coast.