Full list of Great British Railways HQ hopefuls released
Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Crewe and more are in the running to host the new headquarters of the rail infrastructure operator.
Great British Railways will be replacing Network Rail and, as part of the government’s levelling up agenda, will have its headquarters outside of London.
All those bidding will be assessed on the following criteria:
- Alignment to levelling up objectives
- Opportunities for Great British Railways
- Railway heritage and links to the network
- Public support
- Value for money
- Connected and easy to get to
While securing the headquarters of Great British Railways has the potential to be significant, it is worth noting that it will not likely mean lots of office space. Government advice to bidders emphasised that the headquarters is meant to house corporate functions, host meetings and provide a base for a modest amount of staff.
The government will be releasing its shortlist of candidates for the GBR HQ in May.
The full list of entrants is as follows:
- Bishops Stortford
- Durham City
- Greater Manchester (excluding Bolton and Rochdale)
- Liverpool City Region
- Milton Keynes
- West of England Combined Authority (including Bristol and Bath)
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and St Helens only announced their interest in the bid last week. Their push is to have the headquarters at Parkside in Newton-le-Willows.
“While many places claim to be the home of the railway, there can be no denying our borough really does hold that title,” said St Helens council leader David Baines.
“It was the birthplace of Stephenson’s Rocket, saw the very first modern passenger railway with the opening of the Liverpool Manchester Railway in 1830 and the first railway viaduct in the world at Sankey Valley,” Baines continued.
“But it’s not just our history that makes St Helens a first-class choice. Parkside is poised to become one of the most strategically important employment sites in the North West and lies at the heart of the City Region’s freeport plans, with the site forming the largest freeport tax site.”
The Parkside site was chosen by St Helens based on its connectivity – it is located on the M6 Growth Corridor and will have a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange.
In the leadup to then, St Helens Council will be working alongside Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to get support and backing from businesses in the region.
MP for St Helens North, Conor McGinn, has already shared his support for the scheme.
“St Helens’ unique rail heritage, existing connectivity and a highly skilled workforce makes the town a very fitting location for the heart of the national rail industry,” he said.
“St Helens most definitely has a great advantage in becoming the home of Great British Rail, but it will be up against stiff competition, so I urge everyone across the region, individuals, communities, businesses and partners to get behind St Helens bid and help bring GBR home,” he added later.