Latest News | 21 March 2022

Derby stakes its claim to be home of Great British Railways

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Derby City Council has submitted its expression of interest for the city to become the home of Great British Railways (GBR).

The bid outlines why Derby would be a good fit for the new headquarters, as well as promoting its 180 years of rail history.

Being based in the heart of the UK rail network means that over 11,000 workers are employed in Europe’s largest and most diverse rail cluster.

Centred around Derby, it covers every aspect of railway building, maintenance and operation.

Derby is also home to major players in the automotive and aviation industry including Rolls-Royce and Toyota, making it uniquely placed for GBR to benefit from cross-sector collaboration and a highly skilled workforce.

Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of the city council, said: “Rail is in the blood of many generations of people in Derby, who are naturally proud of our rich and deep-rooted rail heritage and that’s why I’m delighted to announce that we have submitted an expression of interest to become the home of GBR.

“As a city we’re looking towards the future of the sector and this is where Derby can excel.”

It was back in September when city leaders first announced they were putting Derby forward to be the new headquarters of GBR, a new public body that will integrate all aspects of the rail network with an aim to make UK railways more efficient.

The competition to find a new home for GBR was officially launched by the Department for Transport last month.

Councillor Poulter said: “We are the centre for rail excellence and innovation, with a strong supply chain to support a large, diverse rail cluster.

“We believe we have a very strong and compelling case for Derby to be the home for the first national headquarters of Great British Railways, which we’ve outlined in our expression of interest to the Government.

“I would like to thank key partners from across the region for supporting us with our submission and for helping back our bid.

“The East Midlands makes us the best-placed region to meet GBR’s requirements and levelling up needs.”

The Government is looking to move 22,000 civil service jobs out of London by the end of the decade.

The relocations will be an opportunity to improve the capacity of the civil service, by helping to attract and retain talented staff across the whole of the UK and for decision-making to better reflect the whole population.

Derby currently has a low proportion of Government jobs, the lowest for a city of its size in the UK. Becoming the home of GBR would directly help level up the area by diversifying and strengthening the local economy.

The shortlist of preferred locations expected to be announced in May. This would then be followed by ministerial visits to the shortlisted locations and a public vote.

The winning location would then be announced sometime in the summer. Derby’s bid has the backing of all three counties, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, as well as support from 22 East Midlands based MP’s. Among them is Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North.

She said: I’m very proud to be backing Derby’s bid to be the new HQ for Great British Railways and I believe that our city has outstanding credentials for the role.

“With Derby’s rich heritage as the longstanding home to Midland Rail and prime location at the heart of the rail network, it is well placed to serve as the centre for the new organisation.

“What truly makes our bid unique is the vital importance that our tremendously skilled workforce continues to play in underpinning our national industry.

“More than two thirds of the UK’s rolling stock is supported from the Litchurch Lane site in Derby alone, and Derby is home to the largest cluster of rail companies anywhere in the world.”

Dame Margaret Beckett, MP for Derby South, said: “The history of the rail industry is inextricably interwoven with the history of Derby but that is not why Derby would be the best possible place for the headquarters of GBR.

“It is because the Derby of today and tomorrow is a transport hub steeped in contributing to the transport of the future, the home of the largest network of rail companies probably in the world-building operating and maintaining the transport of the future is part of Derby’s raison d’être.

“That is what makes it the right place for the new GBR to be headquartered.”

Pauline Latham OBE, MP for Mid Derbyshire, said: “I think the Government would be making a very good decision by bringing Great British Railways to Derby.

“Derby has a fantastic rail heritage, is the centre of the UK’s rail network, and is the home of rail sector innovation for the future. There is no better place for public-private collaboration, with excellent connectivity around the country, and building on over 180 years of railway history.”

For more information about Derby’s bid – and how you can get behind it – visit the Destination Derby website

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