Momentum builds for Great British Railways headquarters in the East Midlands

Momentum is growing for the new national body overseeing British railways to be built in the East Midlands.

Derby aims to become the headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR) backed by leading Derby business leaders and politicians.

If he moved there as part of the government’s upgrade program to support the north, it would lead to the creation of new jobs, regeneration of the city and boost the local economy.

GBR was established in May to consolidate the management of the UK’s fragmented rail transport and ticketing systems.

Under the Leveling Up program, some 22,000 civil service jobs will be displaced from London by the end of the decade.

Derby City Council, train builder Alstom, D2N2 LEP, Toyota and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce have written to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to bring the GBR to the city.

The letter comes just days after Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham backed the decision in the House of Commons, due to the important role Derby has played in the history of British rail transport and its current role in the area.

The candidacy is also supported by Derby South MP Margaret Beckett.

The government’s investment in Derby would not only bring decision-making to the city for the first time in decades, but would maximize Derby’s unique strengths in the rail industry.

The city’s existing ties to the rail industry – past and present – and its vast and diverse rail expertise spanning operations, design, manufacturing, testing, safety, data and finance mean that Derby offers a new start for GBR and a great opportunity for the government to consider.

Paul Simpson, Managing Director of Derby City Council, said: “Derby has a 200-year heritage as a center of the rail industry and is geographically at the heart of the UK rail network.

“We welcome Ms Latham’s support in the House to help defend our city to become the strategic focus to help drive the transformation of British rail.

“As a city we are home to the largest and most diverse rail cluster in Europe and talking to the major players in the rail industry there is an exceptional appetite for Great British Railways headquarters to be in Derby .

“This decision would provide a unique opportunity for the government to collaborate with the rail industry, as well as support the city’s upgrade program.

“We look forward to discussing the next steps in this offer with the government. “

Alstom, which operates the UK’s largest railway plant from Derby, also strongly supported the move.

Will Tanner, director of communications, said Derby was well placed to support the government’s relocation.

He said: “The strategic commercial and national arguments for the establishment of Great British Railways in the city are indeed very strong and we are delighted that Derby is stepping forward.

“Alstom is the UK’s leading train builder and maintainer and is proud to have made Derby their home. The city has been building trains for Britain and the world since 1839 and still does today.

John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, said: “Derby is a vibrant city that is home to one of the largest rail clusters in the world and I can’t imagine a better home for the new Great British Railways.

“From a government perspective it makes good business sense and locating these jobs in the East Midlands would also help the upgrade program. “

In February, the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced that 500 officials would be relocated to the West Midlands with a new headquarters based in Wolverhampton.

New regional offices for other ministries are expected in Manchester, Darlington, Stoke-on-Trent and York by 2025.

The economic analysis confirmed that the dispersion of government activity is likely to bring economic benefits and new opportunities for the locations that have been selected for the new seat of government.

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