Derby has made the final shortlist to become the home of Great British Railways.
This week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed the six locations who will be vying to be the headquarters of GBR in a competition that saw 42 towns and cities from across the country submit an expression of interest.
Derby is up against Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.
A public vote has now opened to gauge the level of public support for each location – and Derby City Council, which submitted the city’s bid, along with its supporters, is urging people across the region to vote for Derby.
There will also be ministerial visits to all of the shortlisted locations.
Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of the city council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Derby has been shortlisted to become the new home of Great British Railways.
“This is a fantastic boost for Derby, and we urge all residents, businesses and stakeholders from across the whole of the East Midlands to take the time to back the bid and vote for Derby.”
The city council submitted its expression of interest for Derby to become the home of Great British Railways back in March.
The city, which has more than 180 years of rail history, is based in the heart of the UK rail network.
It is already home to Europe’s largest and most diverse cluster of rail companies, employing more than 11,000 workers covering every aspect of railway building, maintenance and operation.
GBR is a new public body that will integrate all aspects of the rail network with an aim to make UK railways more efficient.
GBR’s headquarters will be sited outside of London as part of the Government’s plan to move 22,000 civil service jobs out of the capital by the end of the decade.
Derby currently has the lowest proportion of Government jobs for a city of its size in the UK.
It is hoped that becoming the home of GBR would directly help level up the area by diversifying and strengthening the local economy.
Since launching its bid, Derby’s campaign has attracted widespread support from some of the rail industry’s major players, as well as business and political leaders, not just in Derby but across the East Midlands.
Will Rogers, managing director at East Midlands Railway, said: “We are proud to support Derby’s bid to become the new home of Great British Railways and welcome their inclusion in the national shortlist.
“Derby is our home, an historic centre of railway excellence and well located in the heart of the Midlands, providing excellent transport links to towns and cities across the country.
“We look forward to the public vote, formal visit and the opportunity to showcase why Derby would make an excellent home for Great British Railways.”
Kate Martin, deputy principal at Derby College Group, whose estate includes the iconic Roundhouse in Pride Park – part of the former loco works, said: “The shortlist announcement is great news for Derby.
“As the city’s FE college with strong employer and curriculum links to the rail industry, we are fully behind Derby’s bid to bring the headquarters of Great British Railways to the city.
“This will create high quality jobs for many, including our alumni, and act as a catalyst to further inward investment.”
Professor Kathryn Mitchell, vice-chancellor at the University of Derby, said: “It is fantastic news that Derby has made the shortlist and we are delighted that the University of Derby is a partner in this important bid.
“Through our Rail Research and Innovation Centre we support collaborative research and innovation projects, helping to modernise the railway through digital and low carbon solutions.
“We are also ideally placed to provide the key skills needed to support the anchor employers and supply chain, as well as business support dedicated to the rail and transport sector that will enable growth and create more jobs in the region.”
Councillor Poulter said: “This shortlisting is a testament to the hard work of our team, alongside our key rail partners based across the city – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
The closing date of the public vote is 15 August. The result will be considered as part of final decision making and the winner will be announced later this year.
To cast your vote click here.
For more information about Derby’s bid – and how you can get behind it – visit the Destination Derby website – click here.
To watch a video showcasing Derby’s bid click here.