Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today announced that Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York will compete for the honour of being crowned the home of Britain’s railways following a competition that drew applications from 42 towns and cities.
The public vote, which will play a crucial role in determining the chosen location, has officially opened today. Members of the public can choose the town or city they think makes the best case for this prestigious honour online here, with the final decision made by the Transport Secretary later this year.
The central headquarters will be the heart of the rail network and will provide strategic direction for the running of GBR, as well as bringing a number of highly skilled jobs to the area.
As part of the Government’s commitment to level up the UK, the new GBR headquarters will be based outside of London and bring high-skilled jobs to the winning location. Local economies will be further boosted by a number of new regional headquarters across the country, putting decision-making and investment at the heart of the communities that use those railways day-to-day.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “Our world-leading railways have served this country well for 200 years and this is a huge step in the reforms, which will shape our network for the next 200.
“Great British Railways will create a truly sustainable, modern and fair railway network for passengers and freight customers.
“I’m calling on people across the country to play a key part in this once-in-a-generation reform and vote for the new home of our railways.”
Leader of the Great British Railways transition team, Andrew Haines, said: “A big congratulations to Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and York for reaching the final stage in the Government’s competition to find the national HQ for Great British Railways.
“Since the competition was launched it has been great to see the interest from towns and cities across Britain who believe GBR’s home should be with them. I am really looking forward to the next step and seeing which town or city has the honour of being the home for GBR. Good luck to the final six.”
A huge 42 cities and towns came forward to place their bids to be the home of GBR HQ. Applications were measured against six key criteria:
- Alignment to levelling up objectives
- Connected and easy to get to
- Opportunities for GBR
- Railway heritage and links to the network
- Value for money
- Public support
The creation of GBR was announced as a major pillar of the once-in-a-generation reforms launched by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail just over a year ago. GBR will be a single guiding mind that ends the fragmentation of the rail industry and drives benefits and improvements across the network for passengers and freight customers. To mark one year since the launch of Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, in a speech today, the Rail Minister will discuss the progress being made so far, including the launch of the Great British Railways Transition Team’s Call for Evidence on new rail freight growth targets, which will improve the capacity and resilience of our supply chains and realise the industries economic and environmental benefits.