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Derby named as national headquarters of Great British Railways

Great British Railways (GBR), the new ‘guiding mind’ for Britain’s rail network, will be based in Derby, the government has announced.

Among a list of six shortlisted applicants, Derby scored highest in the Expression of Interest stage of the competition, which analysed its suitability against six published criteria: levelling up, connectivity, opportunities for GBR, value for money, heritage, and public support.

Already Europe’s largest rail hub, Derby’s application to host GBR’s headquarters demonstrated strong links to the wider network, well-established connections with the industry, supply chain and customers, and an extensive local cluster of private sector rail businesses. 

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said: “It’s full steam ahead for the reform of our railways and today’s announcement is not only a huge win for the brilliant city of Derby, but a key milestone for the entire rail industry across the country. 

“Great British Railways will put the passenger first, promoting collaboration and innovation across a joined-up, efficient and modern network.”

The government said that while GBR’s headquarters will be in Derby, other towns and cities will also benefit from hosting “empowered regional GBR hubs equipped with decision making and investment powers aimed at benefiting their local communities.”

GBR will also support jobs spanning Great Britain including the North, Southeast, Southwest and London, with GBR headquarters sharing learning, partnerships, connections and opportunities across these centres of excellence.

Anit Chandarana, lead director, Great British Railways Transition Team, added: “The announcement that Derby will be the home of the Great British Railways headquarters is another important milestone on our journey to create a simpler and better railway for everyone in Britain. 

“Although Derby will be the home of our headquarters, Great British Railways will also introduce empowered regional centres, to bring decision making and leadership much closer to local customers and communities.   

“The Transition Team is continuing to work with government and the wider rail industry to deliver this much needed reform and we look forward to working with colleagues in Derby in the coming months, too.”

Community Rail Network will continue to work closely with the GBR Transition Team, as well as government and industry colleagues, to ensure community rail is recognised and supported, and its insights utilised through the process of rail transition and transformation, and opportunities seized to further empower the movement.

We will provide further updates on rail reform when appropriate. In the meantime, you can speak to your usual contact should you have any queries. You can also read about our input into the rail transformation process in this briefing from September 2022.