A competition is being run to find a new home for Great British Railways, with towns and cities across England, Wales, and Scotland invited to apply.
The public will have their say on where the location should be with an online vote to find the home for Great British Railways (GBR).
Announced as a major feature of reforms launched by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, GBR is intended to be a single entity that ends the fragmentation of the rail industry. The plan will drive benefits and improvements across the network for both passengers and freight customers. Great British Rail will integrate the railways and deliver simpler, cheaper, passenger-focused travel.
As part of the Government’s commitment to level up the UK, and following the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper, the new Great British Railways HQ is to be based outside of London. The winning location will benefit from a number of highly-skilled jobs. There will also be several new regional headquarters across the country. These will put decision-making and investment at the heart of the communities that regularly use those railways.
Applications will be assessed against six criteria:
- Alignment to Levelling Up objectives;
- Connected and easy to get to;
- Opportunities for Great British Railways;
- Railway heritage and links to the network;
- Value for money;
- Public support.
The new central Headquarters will be the heart of the rail network and provide strategic direction for the running of GBR.
Local authorities, MPs, and business groups are being encouraged to drive forward campaigns for why their community should be the #DestinationGBR by visiting http://www.gbrtt.co.uk/hq
Locations with strong historical links to railways are encouraged to make the case for why they should be GBR’s new home. In May, the GBR Transition Team will select a shortlist, after which a public vote will help determine the winning location.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our railways have kept this country moving for almost two hundred years, but it’s time to kickstart a new age that will shape our network for the next two hundred.
“I’m calling on people across the country to make the case for why the true home of the railways is on your doorstep.”
Leader of the Great British Railways Transition Team Andrew Haines said: “This is the chance for cities and towns across the UK to pitch to be a key part of an exciting chapter in the history of Britain’s railway.”