Derby confirmed as Great British Railways headquarters

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

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

Unsuccessful shortlisted locations were Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

The Department for Transport said: “Derby came out of the top six excellent locations in both the rigorous evaluation process and public voting.

“Their application demonstrated strong links to the wider network, well-established connections with industry, supply chain and customers, as well as an extensive local group of private sector rail companies.”

Mr Harper commented: “Reform of our railways is going full steam ahead and today’s announcement is not only a huge victory for the glittering city of Derby, but a key milestone for the entire rail industry across the country.

“Great British Railways will put the passenger first, promoting collaboration and innovation through a tight-knit, efficient and modern network.”

Transportation Secretary Mark Harper
Transportation Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the decision on Tuesday (James Manning/PA)

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

“The investment we will see from this significant move will be huge, not just for the Derby, but for leveling up across the East Midlands as well.”

Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North, said the decision is “fantastic news” recognizing Derby’s “outstanding contribution” to the rail industry across the country.

She added that she “campaged hard for this result” and that she was “so glad it paid off.”

Anit Chandarana, Senior Director of the GBR Transition Team, said: “The announcement that Derby will be home to the headquarters of Great British Railways is another important milestone in our journey to create a better and simpler railway for all of Britain. .

“Although Derby will be home to our headquarters, Great British Railways will also feature empowered regional hubs, bringing decision-making and leadership much closer to customers and local communities.”

The transition team “will work with Derby to identify the headquarters site within the city which will represent good value for money for the taxpayer,” Harper said.

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

East Midlands has been affected by the delay to the Midland Mainline electrification project and the decision to remove a planned HS2 station in Toton.

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

Alstom plant in Derby
Derby is already home to the UK’s largest train factory, owned by Alstom (Lucy Ray/PA)

Derby is already home to the UK’s largest train factory, owned by Alstom, employing some 2,000 people.

GBR is expected to simplify the rail network and improve services for passengers by taking over the state-owned infrastructure management company Network Rail and taking over many functions from the Department of Transport.

The agency’s tasks will include issuing passenger service contracts to private companies to operate trains.

Initially, it was due to launch in early 2024, but it was delayed because the Government scrapped its plan to introduce a Transport Bill during the current parliamentary session, citing the need to prioritize legislation related to the energy crisis.

Andy Bagnall, chief executive of industry body Rail Partners, said: “Legislation in the upcoming parliamentary session is now the critical next step in establishing Great British Railways and maintaining momentum for reform of our railways in the interests of both customers and the taxpayers”.


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