Update, 21 March 2023:
Derby has been announced as the location to host the headquarters of new public sector body Great British Railways.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the decision on Tuesday following reports that the East Midlands city had been successful in its bid.
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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.”
Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North, said the decision is “fantastic news” which recognises Derby’s “outstanding contribution” to the rail industry across the country.
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.”
Writing on Twitter, she said: “This is fantastic news that Derby is home to the Great British Railways Headquarters; it really is the city at its best.
“I campaigned hard for this result – locally by encouraging local figures, businesses, and members of the public to place a vote and nationally by speaking to relevant Ministers in Parliament. I wore a t-shirt with the campaign QR code emblazoned on the front so that constituents could literally scan me.
“I’m so pleased it paid off and that Derby has another reason to celebrate – this decision will bring jobs, investment, and the start of a new era for Britain’s railways.
“Derby has a proud history of rail innovation, and I am delighted to see the city named the Home of Great British Railways. “This title recognizes the outstanding contribution that Derby has made to the UK’s rail industry and highlights the city’s commitment to driving innovation and excellence in rail engineering.”
20 March 2023 :
Derby expected to host Great British Railways HQ
Derby is expected to be named as the new headquarters of Britain’s railways, it has been reported.
The city will be confirmed as the home of new public sector body Great British Railways, according to the Guardian newspaper.
Other shortlisted locations included Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.
Among the selection criteria were alignment to levelling-up, transport connections, railway heritage and value for money.
The headquarters will host high-skilled jobs and provide a strategic direction to GBR.
The Department for Transport (DfT), which will announce the decision shortly, said it does not comment on speculation.
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 including issuing passenger service contracts to private companies to run trains.
It was due to be launched in early 2024 but that timetable has been 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.