Help Birmingham become the new HQ for Great British Railways


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In Summary

General | 11th July 2022
Six English towns and cities have been shortlisted to host the headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR) - and are now facing a public vote.

In Detail

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that Birmingham has made the shortlist to become the home of Great British Railways (GBR) - a new public sector body which will oversee Britain’s railways.

It is hoped the new body will run and plan the network, as well as streamline fares, information and compensation for passengers nationwide.

The public vote to decide which city will become the new headquarters of GBR follows a white paper released last year into the rail industry. The rebrand of GBR will replace franchise train companies with contracts, and incentivise private firms on punctuality rather than raising revenue.

But as well as a compelling case on paper, the Government are also looking for strong local support and proof that GBR will find a warm welcome here – which is why people are asked to show their support.

GBR is the biggest shake-up of the rail industry since privatisation in the early 1990s. Consolidating the rail industry into one public sector body is hoped to resolve the continued fragmentation of the industry. The 2018 rail timetable fiasco is one of the key reasons why a rebrand was deemed necessary by government ministers. The new timetable, introduced in May 2018, saw weeks of disruption for commuters, and revealed stretched resources.

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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.”

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council said: “More and more major investors and organisations are choosing to relocate in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands because this region is well-connected, has quality office space and offers a great quality of life.

"Great British Railways would receive a warm welcome here in Birmingham and, as Europe’s youngest and most diverse city, with a deep and diverse pool of talent, this city is in a unique position to help create a railway that’s both inclusive and fit for the future.

“This would also be great for our city, bringing jobs, supporting our local businesses and pulling in even more investment, which is why I strongly encourage people to get behind the city’s bid and show your support.”

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