Derby confirmed as home of Great British Railways

Derby confirmed as home of Great British Railways

Derby has been announced as the location to host the headquarters of new public sector body Great British Railways (GBR).

Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the decision on Tuesday following reports that the East Midlands city had been successful in its bid.

The unsuccessful shortlisted locations were Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

Mr Harper said: “Among an exceptional list of shortlisted applicants, Derby scored highest in the expression of interest stage of the competition, which analysed its suitability against six published criteria: levelling up, connectivity, opportunities for GBR, value for money, heritage and public support.

“It also scored highest in the six-week public vote, attracting 45,600 votes, more than 5,000 ahead of the second placed location in a total vote of 205,000.

“Derby will become the heart of Great Britain’s rail industry, bringing together track and train, as well as revenue and cost.

“This means we will finally treat the railway as the whole system it should be rather than a web of disparate interests that it’s become.”

Derby City Council leader Chris Poulter said: “Rail heritage is at the heart of our city and for this to be recognised by Government is a fantastic achievement.

“The investment we’ll see from this significant move will be huge, not only just for Derby but for levelling up across the whole of the wider East Midlands.”

GBR’s transition team will “work with Derby to identify the site for the HQ within the city, which will represent value for money for the taxpayer,” Mr Harper said.

He claimed the Midlands is “already a transport supercluster for Britain” with Department for Transport and HS2 bases in Birmingham.

The Cabinet minister said: “Bringing GBR HQ to Derby represents a further boost to the region’s transport sector and demonstrates our commitment to levelling up the country.”

He added: “Other towns and cities will also benefit from hosting empowered regional GBR hubs equipped with decision-making and investment powers aimed at benefiting their local communities.

“GBR will support jobs spanning across Great Britain including the North, South East, South West and London.”

Derby is already home to the UK’s largest train factory – owned by Alstom – where around 2,000 people are employed.

It is hoped GBR will simplify the rail network and improve services for passengers by absorbing the state-owned infrastructure management company Network Rail and taking on many functions from the Department for Transport.

The body’s tasks will include issuing passenger service contracts to private companies to run trains.

It was initially due to be launched in early 2024 but that timetable was scrapped.

Then-transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told MPs in October last year that the Government axed its plan to introduce a Transport Bill during the current parliamentary session because legislation to deal with the energy crisis was being prioritised.

Derby’s bid to host the headquarters named a potential location as the former site of the Railway Technical Centre in the south-east of the city, which has been developed into a business park.

The East Midlands has been hit by the delayed Midland Mainline electrification project and the decision to axe a planned HS2 station at Toton.

Published: by Radio NewsHub