Britain’s Department for Transport has announced that Derby will become the new headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR) following a competition with Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.
The city was shortlisted from 42 expressions of interest from towns and cities across Britain, all keen to be the home of the new ‘guiding mind’ for the railways.
Derby came top of all 6 excellent locations in both the rigorous assessment process and the public vote. Their application demonstrated strong links to the wider network, well-established connections with the industry, supply chain and customers, as well as an extensive local cluster of private sector rail businesses.
“It’s full steam ahead for the reform of our railways and today’s announcement is not only a huge win for the brilliant 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 across a joined-up, efficient and modern network,” Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said.
While Great British Railway’s headquarters will be in Derby, other towns and cities across Britain, potentially including the 5 shortlisted cities, will still benefit, becoming powered up regional Great British Railways (GBR) hubs equipped with local decision making, and investment powers aimed at benefiting their local communities and further creating jobs in the locations they serve.
Up until now Derby has had one of the lowest concentrations of civil service jobs in the country. The move to Derby will not only bring key jobs into the city but a strategic government operation. It also means that Derby will play an even more pivotal role in the future development of the railways, with the city already being the centre of one of Europe’s largest rail clusters.
“We have a rich history of being the only city in the UK to have manufactured rolling stock continuously since 1840, so I’m thrilled that Derby’s heritage is being recognised in this defining way. We can’t wait to see what this momentous move will mean for Derby and its citizens in the future,” Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said.
GBR will also have roles spanning across Great Britain including the North, South East, South West and London, with the HQ driving collaboration and innovation across the sector. The government is working closely and collaboratively with the Great British Transition Team to co-design the future railways. Passengers and freight customers will be GBR’s key priority, the new body will also take control of the industry’s finances to drive efficiency and work with the private sector to deliver for customers.