Latest News | 3 May 2022

Derby’s bid for national rail HQ builds up a full head of steam

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A campaign backing Derby’s bid to become the home of Great British Railways (GBR) is gathering momentum.

Dozens of businesses, including Marketing Derby and several of its Bondholders, have so far given their backing to the Destination Derby campaign.

The competition to find a new home for GBR was officially launched by the Department for Transport in February – and in March, Derby City Council submitted its expression of interest for the city to become the base for the new public body, which will be responsible for running Britain’s railway.

Now, the bid has received the backing of several firms, including East Midlands Railway, Toyota, Freeths, Compendium Living, the Devonshire Group, Maber, Alstom, St James Securities and MacMartin Creative.

Paul Simpson, the city council’s chief executive, said: “It’s because of businesses like these and the highly skilled workforce behind them that makes the East Midlands and Derby ideal for Great British Railways.

“Along with its central location, it provides an unparalleled opportunity for closer collaboration within the sector and beyond.”

Last week, Pauline Latham OBE, MP for Mid Derbyshire, secured a debate in Westminster Hall, at the House of Commons, in which she outlined why GBR should come to Derby.

She said: “There are so many reasons why Derby is the right place for GBR. It is at the centre of the UK rail network, there is so much rail history and today the city is at the heart of rail innovation.”

As the centre of Europe’s largest rail cluster, Derby is considered to be a front runner in the competition.

The shortlist of preferred locations expected to be announced this month.
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.

At the Westminster Hall debate, Mrs Latham explained that Derby’s bid had the support of MPs across neighbouring counties, including Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

And a number of big international names in the rail sector have got behind Derby’s bid, including Sperry Europe and DB ESG.

Justin Stroud, managing director at Sperry Europe, said: “Our European headquarters have been located in Derby since 1999 and it is where all of Sperry’s European business and operations, including Network Rail, are managed.

“Geographically the city is positioned centrally in the UK and provides the fastest access to all points of the UK, as well as easy access to suppliers and clients in mainland Europe (through rail and air links).”

Heidi Lee, marketing and communications manager at DB ESG, said: “The railway beats in this city’s heart, with both a rich rail heritage stretching back over 200 years and over 11,000 people working in the railway today in this area.

“Not only does Derby have a central geographical location, but it homes the largest cluster of railway companies certainly in Europe, probably in the world.

“For this reason, it was selected as the obvious home for Rail Forum Midlands and a large number of global transport companies have offices based here, including our parent company, Deutsche Bahn and many other such as Alstom, Siemens, SNC Lavalin, Hitachi and Balfour Beatty.

“Derby has great transport links with major UK cities, such as London and Birmingham and huge support from non-railway organisations, such as the University of Derby and Marketing Derby.

John Forkin MBE DL, managing director of Marketing Derby

“As engineering thrives here, with non-railway organisations such as Rolls-Royce and Toyota manufacturing also in this locality, it encourages transfer of skills, innovation and knowledge between sectors.

“For example, Porterbrook Leasing has recently announced a new collaboration with Rolls-Royce to look at technological innovations that reduce carbon emissions.

“Housing GBR in Derby, would show real commitment to our city and its people and highlight the important role that Derby plays in the global rail industry.”

Individuals and organisations can show their support and back Derby’s bid by joining the ‘Destination Derby’ campaign here and using #DERBYGBR on social media.

A campaign video has also been created, highlighting why Derby and the East Midlands is the perfect place for the home of GBR.

To watch the video please click here.

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