Derby has been selected as the national headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR), marking a key milestone in the UK Government’s reformation of the country’s railways.
Derby, Europe’s largest rail hub, was selected over five other locations in a rigorous assessment process and public vote.
The 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,” said Transport Secretary Mark Harper.
While Great British Railway’s headquarters will be in Derby, other towns and cities across Britain will become regional rail hubs, equipped with local decision-making, and investment powers.
“I am thrilled to hear Derby has been selected as the home for the new GBR headquarters,” said Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect, the Midlands’ regional transport body.
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“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.”
The Midlands is already something of a transport hotbed, with the Department for Transport and the high-speed rail project, HS2, having bases in Birmingham.
The UK Government is now working with the GBR transition team to co-design the future of UK railways.
The Department for Transport says that passengers and freight customers will be GBR’s key priority, with the new body taking control of the industry’s finances to “drive efficiency”, working in collaboration with the private sector.
“Congratulations to Derby on becoming the home of GBR, a city with a rich rail heritage,” Railway Industry Association CEO Darren Caplan said in reaction to the news.
“Today’s announcement is hopefully a welcome sign that the UK Government is pressing on with industry reform so that the supply chain can deliver transformational rail projects effectively and efficiently in future, while delivering value-for-money for the tax and fare payer.
“It is now crucial that ministers keep their foot on the pedal, to provide the industry with clarity on what reform will look like and ensure that there are no further delays in the development of GBR.”
The GBR transition team will now work with local authorities in Derby to identify the location in the city for the headquarters building.