Great British Railways HQ competition: York to bid for government's new rail body to be based in the city

City of York Council’s leader has confirmed the city will bid to become the home for the new national body for the country’s railways.

York city centre

Keith Aspden said it would make “perfect sense” for Great British Railways (GBR) to be based in York.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps today kickstarted a competition to find the town or city that will become home to GBR, which will be the single, accountable public body responsible for running Britain’s railways.

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The competition will “recognise towns and cities with a rich railway history that are strongly linked to the network”, according to the government.

Coun Aspden and leader of North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les wrote to Mr Shapps earlier this year making the case for York to become home to the new headquarters.

There are around 5,000 rail jobs based in York already - representing about 10 per cent of the national rail industry.

Train operators based in the city include LNER, Northern and Grand Central. Network Rail employs 1,000 people in York and its training hub is based in the city.

Coun Aspden said CYC would be submitting a bid in the competition.

He said: “York is already at the heart of the rail industry in the North, with our existing rail links, rail sector jobs and highly skilled workforce, so it would make perfect sense for the headquarters of the Government’s flagship rail body to be based in the city.”

Coun Aspden said the “exciting” York Central site would be an ideal location for the base.

He added: “Having already secured funding for enabling infrastructure which is now underway, the timing would be perfect to make this home for Great British Railways, alongside a future Civil Service Hub.

“This is something we have continuously called on the Government to deliver through their levelling up plans, going beyond empty slogans and bringing real investment and jobs to the city.

“We will be submitting a bid with the support of the city’s and region’s key partners to secure this major opportunity for York and the region.”