Competition for new location of GBR Headquarters

Dr Day

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Great British Railways will need a home. Today I'm announcing that we will be launching a competition to find the town or city that will become home to the new rail body and the future capital of our railway industry.
Apologies if already on another thread. Minister is launching a 'competition' for the town/city away from London to become to HQ of the new GBR organisation.

Some natural contenders like Crewe, York and Darlington, but others like Warrington may be in with a shout, particularly as it is served by direct trains from Wales and Scotland. Not quite sure how this 'competition' will be judged and why we can't pay our civil servants to assess these kind of things themselves without local authorities having to incur potentially abortive bidding costs. Maybe it doesn't have to have any physical office at all and exist purely as a 'virtual' organisation, but I somehow doubt it.

What do we think? Have probably missed somewhere obvious off this list, but a starter for ten...
 
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transportphoto

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Milton Keynes, in Network Rail’s purpose built building?
 

800001

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Apologies if already on another thread. Minister is launching a 'competition' for the town/city away from London to become to HQ of the new GBR organisation.

Some natural contenders like Crewe, York and Darlington, but others like Warrington may be in with a shout, particularly as it is served by direct trains from Wales and Scotland. Not quite sure how this 'competition' will be judged and why we can't pay our civil servants to assess these kind of things themselves without local authorities having to incur potentially abortive bidding costs. Maybe it doesn't have to have any physical office at all and exist purely as a 'virtual' organisation, but I somehow doubt it.

What do we think? Have probably missed somewhere obvious off this list, but a starter for ten...
Don't we already have this at Milton Keynes?

Network Rails £107 million building that's they relocated lots of staff to several years ago.
 

Ianno87

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Milton Keynes, in Network Rail’s purpose built building?

Fits the bill (I don't think a "traditional" railway location like Crewe or York will win), and will be pretty accessible in railway geography terms once East West Rail is completed (and next to a shiny new railway as a result)
 

TheEdge

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Milton Keynes, in Network Rail’s purpose built building?

No, that won't do at all, for clearly obvious reasons...

Alternative title. Which arbitrarily selected Northern town in a constitutancy recent won from Labour are we going to put this vanity project in?
 

Wolfie

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Let's see, when the Tories lose more seats in the South East, what happens....
 

DanNCL

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I nominate Newcastle. Newcastle has a huge railway history of course being the birthplace of the railways, and it's ever growing in regional importance. It's also an area where the Tories can make gains, so will be somewhere they want to be seen making an effort in.

Milton Keynes, in Network Rail’s purpose built building?
Fits the bill (I don't think a "traditional" railway location like Crewe or York will win), and will be pretty accessible in railway geography terms once East West Rail is completed (and next to a shiny new railway as a result)
No, that won't do at all, for clearly obvious reasons...

Alternative title. Which arbitrarily selected Northern town in a constitutancy recent won from Labour are we going to put this vanity project in?
I think this is to find somewhere for the passenger part of GBR to be headquatered, rather than the infrastructure side of it which will presumably remain in Milton Keynes.
 
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I nominate Newcastle. Newcastle has a huge railway history of course being the birthplace of the railways, and it's ever growing in regional importance. It's also an area where the Tories can make gains, so will be somewhere they want to be seen making an effort in.




I think this is to find somewhere for the passenger part of GBR to be headquatered, rather than the infrastructure side of it which will presumably remain in Milton Keynes.
I wouldn't really say Milton Keynes is the current centre of the infrastucture side. That's mostly all devolved to the routes.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The GBR HQ seems to be framed solely in terms of relocating civil servants from London, rather than in railway terms.
You'd hope GBR will be populated by railway professionals more than ex-DfT staff, though some of the regulatory functions are currently DfT-based.
It took a lot of effort to relocate the Met Office from Bracknell to Exeter, so setting up GBR in a levelling-up area will be similarly hard.
Warrington made me laugh - if that became the centre everybody would live in leafy Cheshire.
It's main development area in in any case at Birchwood next to the M6/62, not near the railway in soap-land.
 

306024

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The GBR HQ seems to be framed solely in terms of relocating civil servants from London, rather than in railway terms.
Yes that’s my reading of it, it was bad enough setting up NR HQ at Milton Keynes with the consequent loss of knowledge. We don’t need another upheaval of those staff.

You'd hope GBR will be populated by railway professionals more than ex-DfT staff, though some of the regulatory functions are currently DfT-based.
You’d hope, but then again……

Birmingham would seem to be the logical choice geographically, so it won’t be there.
 

Ianno87

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Actually, I might reconsider ruling out Crewe. Sits neatly alongside shiny new HS2, and it's the North, so "levelling up".
 

station_road

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Derby was making a bid for this, as the home of lots of existing railway companies - link to press release below

Alstom, D2N2 LEP, Toyota and East Midlands Chamber of Commerce have now written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to ask for the city to become the new home for Great British Railways.

The letter comes days after MP Pauline Latham showed her support for the move in the House of Commons. Latham said: "Derby had played a central role in the history of British rail transport. Derby has also invested in the future of the industry, with local businesses helping to develop the UK's first hydrogen trains."

https://www.insidermedia.com/news/midlands/derby-bids-to-become-home-of-great-british-railways
 
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The Planner

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Id put a fiver on Brum. First bit of HS2 allows them to escape back to London as quick as they can at the end of the day.
 
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Schnapps mentioned that he expected bids from ' railway towns like York or Crewe' i- a bit of a pointer I think. My money is on the former - the 'York Central' site that was touted as a site for the House of Lords until their lordships objected. It wont be Milton Keynes - Network Rail will be no more - new broom and all that.
 

306024

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Sir Humphrey has been there before! Here‘s some of the opposition Mr Shapps may have to deal with.

 

Pit_buzzer

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Doncaster.. Located in the white elephant High Speed Rail College building.

The council will have the sign put up tomorrow at the latest
 

SargeNpton

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Where do most of the staff who work for the organisations that will form the core of the GBR staff live and work? How many will up sticks and move if the new HQ is beyond reasonable commuting distance?

If a significant number of experienced staff decide not to move then you immediately have an organisation struggling to manage its commitments (I'm sure that many of you will have examples of that happening in the past). That wouldn't be a good start for the bright new railway.
 

Merseysider

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Shove it in the arse end of Birkenhead and be done with it :lol:

Besides the very minor increase in local spending (would make sense to use an existing building), can’t see how it’ll make much difference where it’s based, tbh...
 

Wolfie

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Shove it in the arse end of Birkenhead and be done with it :lol:

Besides the very minor increase in local spending (would make sense to use an existing building), can’t see how it’ll make much difference where it’s based, tbh...
Staff retention, particularly of skilled specialists, will be key. Unless relocation packages are very good, and in the Civil Service they've been hacked to pieces, that just won't happen.
 

Merseysider

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Staff retention, particularly of skilled specialists, will be key. Unless relocation packages are very good, and in the Civil Service they've been hacked to pieces, that just won't happen.
Good point... I’d echo SargeNpton’s question:
Where do most of the staff who work for the organisations that will form the core of the GBR staff live and work?
I’d imagine somewhere like Wick or Penzance would be out of the picture for the new HQ, but are the majority already based in London/Midlands/NW/somewhere else?
 

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