Last chance to back Derby’s rail bid as deadline looms

With the deadline fast approaching, one of the East Midlands’ foremost business leaders has urged residents, workers and businesses across Derbyshire and the wider region to back Derby’s bid to become the new home of Great British Railways (GBR).

Ahead of the cut-off point on Monday (15 August), East Midlands Chamber boss Scott Knowles has called on the public to vote for Derby, which is one one of six cities to be shortlisted as a potential location for the new rail body.

The other shortlisted cities are Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

In October last year, the Government opened a competition to find a location for the GBR headquarters, with historical ties to the railways and good train connectivity being among the selection criteria.

Derby already has strong links to the rail industry as home to trainmaker Alstom, which is the UK’s only facility with the expertise and capacity to both design and manufacture rolling stock.

The city is also home to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and major players in the automotive and aviation industry such as Rolls-Royce and Toyota, making it uniquely placed for cross-sector collaboration.

If successful, the city’s bid to become GBR’s new home could bring millions of pounds of investment and hundreds of jobs to the region.

Knowles, chief executive at the Chamber, said: “Derby and the rail industry go hand-in-hand, so it feels like the natural location for a national centre of our railways.

“Its 200-year legacy as the centre of UK rail remains highly relevant today as the home of the country’s largest train factory, where operator Alstom will soon build the next generation of high-speed trains in a joint venture with Hitachi Rail, alongside the many small businesses that make up the supply chain.

“Creating the Great British Railways headquarters in Derby would build on this expertise, further develop the skillsets from its industrial heritage and shine a spotlight on the city’s economic strengths.

“When combined with other exciting regional projects such as the East Midlands Freeport, this could help attract new investment from companies that may wish to be located near a national centre and create jobs for these skills to thrive – all relevant to the Government’s levelling up agenda.

“All these benefits would not just be felt in Derby, but across the wider region too, so we call on the East Midlands public to get behind Derby’s bid to become the new home of Great British Railways by voting.”

The public vote, which involves selecting the preferred location and providing a postcode, can be accessed here.