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York makes its case to bring rail back home

The Minister for Rail meets with stakeholders, businesses and leaders on a balcony overlooking the city centre, they are all looking at the camera and smiling
Wendy Morton MP, the Rail Minister, visits York to meet leaders from across the city

Published Tuesday, 26 July 2022

People and partners across York and the wider region have come together to make the case that York is the rightful home of Great British Railways.

On the 25 July the city welcomed Wendy Morton MP, the Rail Minister, to display York’s credentials to host the headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR).

York is one of six areas competing to be the location for the GBR headquarters. York’s bid set out its strengths and why the city is the natural home for GBR, including:

York is ready

With 5,000 rail employees and major rail operators based in York’s rail campus, as well as having over 9,000 rail employees and over 100 related companies within an hour of York, we are the largest rail cluster outside of the South East. We have a specialist rail workforce, essential to the day to day running of the railways, with considerable expertise in digital, data and automation.

York’s rail campus is within 10 minutes’ walk of the station and with the York Central development underway, we have a major, Network Rail and Homes England owned site, located right next to one of the best connected stations on the British rail network.

Levelling up

A recent poll confirmed that 7 out of 10 adults agree that locating Great British Railways in York would help other areas of Yorkshire to level up. There are 5 million people living within an easy commute of York, and 700 of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country are within one hour by train to York. Companies in York draw their workforces from this broad area.

Our colleges are already focussed on attracting people from all backgrounds and locations to make the most of the opportunities that our city presents. We are delighted to have the support of prominent politicians in the region, including MPs from across York and North Yorkshire, rail industry leaders, Zoe Metcalfe, YNY Police and Fire Commissioner, Andrew Digwood, VP from WY and NY Chamber of Commerce and Helen Simpson and James Farrar from YNY LEP, who feel that locating GBR in York will benefit their community.

York is the future of railways

York is already leading the future of the railways in innovation and through knowledge sharing. Whether finding solutions to make the network more productive through digital signalling and safe automation, or reducing delays from leaves on the line, York is pioneering effective and efficient transport systems that are essential to the future of rail.

York has the potential to be a global rail supercluster and is already home to 100 rail companies leading railway research, innovation and sustainability. We are also home to Active Travel England and the epicentre for decarbonised transport systems in the UK.

York’s passion for rail

Each year, The National Railway Museum welcomes 750,000 people to York to learn about and engage with the railways through the ages and explore the future of rail, inspiring the next generation of rail operators, engineers and innovators. As the home of GBR, we can channel that passion and enthusiasm by being closer to customers in a way that isn’t possible anywhere else. This will help drive standards and innovation, as York has done for the last 200 years.

The public are encouraged to vote for their preferred location of Great British Railways online.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

I would like to thank the Minister and the Great British Railways Team for taking the time to visit our wonderful city and hear how York is the natural home for the newly created Great British Railways.

“Today, we reiterated our case that GBR in York would bring huge benefits to our communities and the wider region. With the unique opportunity of York Central and the rail innovators already operating in our city, we know York is ready to help GBR to succeed.

“A huge number of local residents, businesses and partners have already shown their support for York, whether that be talking to the Minister today or encouraging people to vote. Thank you to everyone for supporting the city’s campaign and let’s keep going, as every vote counts.”

Rachel Maskell, York Central MP, said:

I am grateful that York has been able to showcase its ‘rail cluster’ and operational expertise to the Minister and Great British Railways transition team to show how, as a city, we are leading rail innovations in digital and advanced rail.

“After highlighting how bringing the new rail headquarters to York to the Rail Minister, Wendy Morton MP, in Parliament, it was good she was able to come and see how our unique offer will not only benefit York but will level up the nation through the skills and opportunities we can develop to deliver a safe, reliable and connected service.”

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresbrough, said:

York is such a strong contender because of the breadth of its skills in this area whether it is the rolling stock, engineering, planning or our digital future.

"This is why York is ideally placed to host the headquarters of Great British Railways and why, if it comes to York, it will be able to hit the ground running. York is already well-known as a railway city. It has been for decades as it hosts several large rail-related companies and leads the country in railway heritage.

”Bringing the HQ to the North will also play to the strengths of the Government’s levelling up agenda and, while there are many other good bids, none have this compelling mix of industry, history, heritage and geography. The strength of York’s claim is clear.”

Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor at the University of York, said:

We've set out a really clear vision with the Rail Minister today, about why York is the perfect place for Great British Rail HQ, and how this will drive both innovation and levelling up in the North.

"Now it's time for everyone to vote for York in the national competition - we've only got three weeks left to make it happen."

Julian Sturdy, York Outer MP, said:

The Minister’s visit to York comes at a crucial point when we are in the shortlist of six UK towns and cities to become the new home of Great British Railways.

"I firmly believe that the great British public will rally round York as the best choice to host this new national institution and encourage everyone in the local area and beyond to support York’s bid and take part in the online vote."

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said:

The best connected regional city by rail, the National Railway Museum, the highest concentration of railway engineers, workers and supply chain and one of the best cities in the world to live in all make York the clear ‘Railway King’!