The UK government has selected Derby as the location for the new Great British Railways (GBR) headquarters after a competitive competition process, which included finalists such as Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.
The city was shortlisted from 42 expressions of interest from towns and cities across the nation, with the contest analysing locations’ suitability against six published criteria: levelling up, connectivity, opportunities for GBR, value for money, heritage and public support.
Derby scored highest in both the expression of interest and the six-week public vote that ran during the summer of 2022, attracting 45,600 votes.
Mark Harper, transport secretary, 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.”
Currently, Derby has had a record of one of the lowest concentrations of civil service jobs in the country, with the new HQ intended to create more employment opportunities in the area and help the city to play an even more pivotal role in the future development of the railways.
Great British Railways is a new public body established to help run Britain’s railways; the exact location of the headquarters in Derby is yet to be confirmed.
Cllr Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, 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.
“Not only do we have Europe’s largest rail cluster centred right here in Derby, but we also have a rich history of being the only city in the UK to have manufactured rolling stock continuously since 1840. I’m thrilled that Derby’s heritage is being recognised in this defining way.”
Regional support for the bid was represented by Midlands Connect, East Midlands Councils, East Midlands Chamber, Marketing Derby and the D2N2 LEP and included 22 MPs and all 40 local authorities across the East Midlands.
Support for the bid also came from the rail sector – including bodies such as Alstom, Costain, Resonate, Sperry, Loram, Train FX and East Midlands Railway.