Derby wins GBR headquarters contest

Derby is to be the home of Great British Railways, the government has announced.

The East Midlands city will host the GBR headquarters, where several hundred people will work.

More than 40 towns and cities had competed to host GBR, and six were shortlisted. The other five were Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: ‘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.’

Derby-based industry networking organisation Rail Forum has welcomed the news.

Chief executive Elaine Clark said: ‘All of the finalists were strong contenders to be the home of GBR and Rail Forum would like to commend each of the locations on the quality of their bids. GBR will be the guiding mind and set the strategic direction for the future of Britain’s railways. Derby is an excellent location for the HQ and we look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with GBRTT, for the benefit of all our members across the whole of the UK.’

Maria Machancoses, who is the chief executive of regional transport body Midlands Connect, said: ‘I am thrilled to hear Derby has been selected as the home for the new Great British Railways HQ.

‘It is an excellent choice; Derby is right in the heart of the country and is home to the greatest cluster of rail sector businesses in the UK and indeed Europe making it a perfect location for the home of GBR.

‘Investing in Derby is a therefore a clear vote of confidence for the rail industry bringing a host of job opportunities to the region and we look forward to working together with GBR on our plans, including the Midlands Rail Hub.’

Rail Partners lobbies on behalf of the private sector. Its chief executive Andy Bagnall said: ‘It's great to see Great British Railways has found its future home in Derby, a city with a rich history of railway heritage and a track record of innovation. The strength of competition for the HQ from other great railway cities up and down the country speaks to the transformative power of rail as an engine for green growth.

‘Legislation in the next Parliamentary session is now the critical next step to establishing Great British Railways and maintaining momentum for reform of our railways in the interests of both customers and taxpayers.’

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