A competition has been launched to find the new “railway homeland”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said Great British Railways (GBR) headquarters could be built “anywhere in the country” outside London.
Local authorities, MPs and business groups representing cities across Britain are encouraged to bid to host the new public sector body.
Mr Shapps urged people across Britain to ‘explain why the real home of the railways is on your doorstep’.
He told the PA news agency that the location “should be somewhere with great rail history” and be “well connected”.
Other criteria include alignment with the government’s upgrading program to reduce regional inequalities, public support determined by online voting and value for money.
PA has identified three potential cities for the headquarters, and why they might be chosen:
– York: on the East Coast Main Line and home of the National Railway Museum.
– Crewe: a major junction on the West Coast Mainline and will be connected to HS2 when phase 2a is complete.
– Birmingham: will be on the HS2 network when services begin.
The winner – who will be announced this summer – will receive a “big boost” with the creation of high-skilled jobs in their area, Mr Shapps said.
Several regional headquarters will also be built.
The formation of GBR to manage and plan the rail network was announced in May last year as part of the widespread reforms launched by Mr Shapps in the Williams-Shapps plan for rail.
Mr Shapps said he would focus on ‘bringing it all together and running a much more efficient service for passengers’ when it starts operating, which is expected to be in early 2024.
GBR will absorb Network Rail and take over many functions from the Department of Transport to end the fragmentation of the industry.
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