THE Watercress Line has announced a new general manager.

Long-term volunteer Simon Baggott comes from a background in production engineering and marketing of engineering services at senior management level.

He has always had a love of railways and has over 30 years’ volunteering experience in heritage railways.

Since 1998 Simon has been a volunteer on the Mid Hants Railway (MHR), initially assisting with loco overhauls before training for footplate duties. He has been a steam driver since 2007 and has previously undertaken the role of loco inspector, setting up mutual improvement classes for firemen and drivers, before serving as a director.

After a spell away, Simon rejoined the board and with a fellow volunteer has been covering aspects of the general manager’s role as an interim measure.

Richard Lacey, chairman of MHR, said: “The board made the appointment after a competitive, lengthy and rigorous process that produced a strong field from which Simon was the stand-out candidate. The Board considers that the Line is fortunate to have someone of Simon’s experience and knowledge of its workings taking the helm at an important point in its history to help drive the business forward.”