Investment News | 16 April 2024

New national rail body begins search for city HQ

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Great British Railways is set to launch a city-wide search in Derby to find a property to house its headquarters.

Last year, following a public competition, Derby was selected as the new base for GBR, which is a new public body that will oversee rail transport in the UK.

Now, the Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) is due to brief a specialist property agent on identifying a versatile location that will lend itself to bringing people together to “work productively and innovate effectively”.

According to GBRTT, its national headquarters will act as a hub for the wider rail industry.

The property search will build on GBRTT’s work with Derby City Council and local partners to define a shared vision for the headquarters since the city was chosen back in March 2023.

Paul Harwood, director of partners and places at GBRTT, said: “Good ideas can come from anywhere, but innovation happens when people work together to put good ideas into practice.

“Our customers rightly expect a modern customer experience, while our funders expect efficiency, so rail must be open for business – ready to work with innovators to test new ideas at pace and to scale the pilots that work.

“We’re looking for a space that will ensure Great British Railways HQ is a catalyst for that vibrant, customer-first culture that will fan out from Derby.”

The idea behind GBR is to bring together responsibility for both track and train into a single organisation, to make the railway simpler to use, more efficient to run and better for the country as a whole.

Earlier this year, the Government published its draft Rail Reform Bill – the legislation needed to create GBR.

The draft bill is now being scrutinised by Parliamentarians and industry.

In the meantime, GBRTT is set to open an office in Derby, next to the railway station.

In a statement, GBRTT said: “Establishing a footprint in the city now will help GBRTT to work ever more closely with private and public sector partners across the Midlands and beyond, as they help the sector to get ready for GBR.

“Among other activities, GBRTT will use its new Derby office to host collaboration, engagement and innovation sessions with partners in the rail industry and beyond – as well as making it a core part of the team’s everyday operations.

“Located right next to Derby Railway Station, it will give staff more options to meet and work together in-person outside of London.”

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