Derby, Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York have been announced as the six shortlisted cities in the running to be Great British Railways Headquarters.

In October last year, the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced a competition to find a location for the Great British Railways (GBR) headquarters outside of London.

GBR will be the new public body responsible for running Britain’s railways. It will integrate the railways across the country, owning the infrastructure, collecting fare revenue, running and planning the network, and setting most fares and timetables.

There will now be ministerial visits to all the locations on the shortlist followed by a non-binding but influential public vote to measure the level of public support for each location. The public vote closes on 15 August, 2022. The result will be considered as part of final decision making and the winner will be announced later this year.

Responding to the announcement Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted that Derby has been shortlisted to become the new home of Great British railways. This shortlisting is a testament to the hard work of our team, alongside our key rail partners based across the city – we couldn’t have done it without them. As well as having a long 180-year plus rail history, what sets us apart is we remain home to a thriving rail ecosystem – Europe’s largest rail cluster. I’m thrilled that Derby’s rail credentials are being recognised by the Government.’

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and Chair of the WMCA, said: ‘Birmingham combines a unique rail heritage with an unparalleled concentration of modern expertise that means we are ideally suited to shape the next century of railway excellence by playing host to the GBR headquarters. A Birmingham base would put GBR at the heart of the nation’s rail network and close to its customers – with 94 million rail journeys made here in the region each year.

‘Birmingham as well as the wider West Midlands is already at the forefront of innovation in transport design, policy, planning, technology and engineering – thanks in part to our central role in flagship projects like HS2 and Very Light Rail.

‘This means we are blessed with a wealth of talent to draw on as we look ahead to the future of the railways and a wonderful chance to bring jobs, civic pride and economic opportunity for our local residents. The momentum is with us and if GBR chooses Birmingham as its home, then it’s full steam ahead.’

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that Crewe has been shortlisted as one of the locations being seriously considered as the new home for GBR. We strongly believe that Crewe is the right and logical choice. Crewe is a rail town through and through, at the heart of the rail network. Crewe has a strong rail heritage and is one of the most connected interchanges in the country, connecting the nation and serving as a gateway for the North.’

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones said: ‘I am delighted that Doncaster has made the shortlist. I firmly believe that Doncaster should be the home of Great British Railways, in the heart of South Yorkshire and gateway to the North, we would make the perfect home for GBR and the ideal location from which to run this country’s railways. Our bid is strong and demonstrates all we have to offer, including our rich rail history, value for money, excellent connectivity and links with the rail sector not to mention our new found city status!’

Leader of the Great British Railways transition team, Andrew Haines, said: ‘A big congratulations to Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and York for reaching the final stage in the Government’s competition to find the national HQ for Great British Railways. Since the competition was launched it has been great to see the interest from towns and cities across Britain who believe GBR’s home should be with them. I am really looking forward to the next step and seeing which town or city has the honour of being the home for GBR. Good luck to the final six.’