The Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP announced Derby will be the home of the Great British Railways headquarters.

Great British Railways (GBR) is a once in a generation reform that will transform the way in which the sector works, bringing together track and train – through a network of regional railway centres – to deliver a simpler, better railway for everyone.

Derby is already home to Europe’s largest rail cluster – providing thousands of skilled jobs and benefiting from well established rail links to towns and cities across the country.

The Great British Railways HQ will be the anchor of a new rail campus across the city, building on this existing centre of railway excellence.

As the Secretary of State outlined, teams at the HQ will support the wider industry in driving innovation and new thinking, including teams focused on research and development and tackling nationwide issues like net-zero and expanding the role of rail freight.

Now Derby is confirmed as Great British Railways HQ, we will work with Derby City Council to find the precise location that will house our vision of GBR HQ.

Great British Railways regions

Although Derby will be the home of the Great British Railways HQ, regions across England, Wales and Scotland will benefit from the rail reform which GBR will deliver. To ensure rail reform delivers for customers across Britain, decision making will not be confined to the HQ. Empowered GBR regions will be equipped with the authority to make decisions and prioritise investment opportunities, alongside a strong and clear voice for local leaders and communities.

Industry response

Elaine Clark, CEO of Rail Forum said:

‘All of the finalists were strong contenders to be the home of GBR and Rail Forum would like to commend each of the locations on the quality of their bids. GBR will be the guiding mind and set the strategic direction for the future of Britain’s railways. Derby is an excellent location for the HQ and we look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with GBRTT, for the benefit of all our members across the whole of the UK.’

Andy Bagnall, Chief Executive of Rail Partners said:

‘It’s great to see Great British Railways has found its future home in Derby, a city with a rich history of railway heritage and a track record of innovation. The strength of competition for the HQ from other great railway cities up and down the country speaks to the transformative power of rail as an engine for green growth.

‘Legislation in the next Parliamentary session is now the critical next step to establishing Great British Railways and maintaining momentum for reform of our railways in the interests of both customers and taxpayers.’

Railway Industry Association Chief Executive, Darren Caplan, said:

‘Congratulations to Derby on becoming the home of GBR, a city with a rich rail heritage! Well done also to the other competitors who were shortlisted, all of which are great rail towns and cities too, and will play a crucial role in the future of UK rail as well.

‘Today’s announcement is hopefully a welcome sign that the Government is pressing on with industry reform, so that the supply chain can deliver transformational rail projects effectively and efficiently in future, while delivering value-for-money for the tax and fare payer. It is now crucial that ministers keep their foot on the pedal, to provide the industry with clarity on what reform will look like and ensure that there are no further delays in the development of GBR.’

Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said:

‘We’re absolutely thrilled that Derby has been selected to become the new home of Great British railways. This result is a testament to the hard work of our team, alongside our key rail and city partners based across Derby – we couldn’t have done it without them. Rail heritage is at the heart of our city and for this to be recognised by Government is a fantastic achievement. The investment we’ll see from this significant move will be huge, not only just for Derby but for levelling up across the whole of the wider East Midlands.

Not only do we have Europe’s largest rail cluster centred right here in Derby, but we also have a rich history of being the only city in the UK to have manufactured rolling stock continuously since 1840. I’m thrilled that Derby’s heritage is being recognised in this defining way. Thank you again to everyone who took the time to back Derby’s bid, it was brilliant to have support from 22 MPs and all 40 local authorities from across the East Midlands. We can’t wait to see what this momentous move will mean for Derby and its citizens in the future.’ Significant support for the bid came from the rail sector itself – including the likes of Alstom, Costain, Resonate, Sperry, Loram, Train FX and East Midlands Railway – plus Derby College and rail innovation orientated universities of Derby, Loughborough and Nottingham.’

Maria Machancoses, Chief Executive of Midlands Connect, said:

‘I am thrilled to hear Derby has been selected as the home for the new Great British Railways HQ. It is an excellent choice; Derby is right in the heart of the country and is home to the greatest cluster of rail sector businesses in the UK and indeed Europe making it a perfect location for the home of GBR.

‘Investing in Derby is a therefore a clear vote of confidence for the rail industry bringing a host of job opportunities to the region and we look forward to working together with GBR on our plans, including the Midlands Rail Hub.’

Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland said:

‘Derby is the heart of Britain’s rail industry, and a key cluster for advanced engineering manufacturing with the likes of Alstom, Rolls-Royce and Toyota; it is the natural choice to host Great British Railways. Alstom directly employs 2000 of our people in the city and our factory is a leading global centre for train design and advanced manufacturing. Importantly, it is the only site in the UK where trains can be designed, developed, built and tested – as we will be doing for the next generation train for HS2. Having GBR in the city will help foster greater rail sector collaboration and help attract and retain the young people so vital to all our futures.’

Will Rogers, Managing Director, East Midlands Railway, said:

‘It is absolutely fantastic news that the home of EMR will also be the home of Great British Railways, too.

Although Derby has a proud rail history, we also know it has a bright and exciting future too and we look forward to working closely with GBR, as well as the current rail and engineering cluster to deliver a better and simpler railway for the country in the years to come.’