Wakefield's bid, which has been backed by its West Yorkshire neighbours, could bring high-quality jobs to the area if successful.
The public will be able to vote on the HQ's new location, after a shortlist is confirmed in May, although bizarrely the result will only be considered advisory by the government.
Councillor Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for regeneration and economic growth said: “With the backing of the West Yorkshire Mayor and the region’s leaders we are delighted to be bidding for such an opportunity that aims to bring the headquarters and lots of well-paid jobs to Wakefield.
“In order to boost the economic performance of our city we must broaden the city centre office market, providing a quality supply of office accommodation that will increase footfall.
“The Great British Railways HQ project will be a key enabler in supporting this and the Wakefield bid will focus on a key development that has been designed with exactly this kind of opportunity in mind."
Historical ties with the railways and good train connectivity with other places are among the criteria which will be used to decide the outcome of the competition.
Wakefield has two railway stations - Westgate and Kirkgate - both of which were built in the 19th century.
Its place on the East Coast mainline and the fact it's just a two-hour journey from London are also factors that may count in its favour.
Darlington, Derby, Crewe and Swindon are among the other places to have put themselves forward.
Local Democracy Reporting Service