A competition has been launched to find the new “home of the railways”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the central headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR) could be built “anywhere in the country” outside London.
Local authorities, MPs and business groups representing towns and cities across Britain are encouraged to enter bids to host the new public-sector body.
Mr Shapps urged people across Britain to “make the case for why the true home of the railways is on your doorstep”.
He told the PA news agency the location “should be somewhere with a great railway history” and be “well connected”.
Other criteria include alignment with the Government’s levelling-up programme to reduce regional inequalities, public support determined through an online vote and value for money.
PA has identified three potential towns and cities for the headquarters, and why they might be chosen:
– York: On the East Coast Main Line and home to the National Railway Museum.
– Crewe: A major junction on the West Coast Main Line and will be connected to HS2 when Phase 2a is completed.
– Birmingham: Will be on the HS2 network when services begin.
The winner – which will be announced this summer – will receive a “great boost” with the creation of high-skilled jobs in their area, Mr Shapps said.
Several regional headquarters will also be built.
The formation of GBR to run and plan the rail network was announced in May last year as part of widespread reforms launched by Mr Shapps in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.
Mr Shapps said it will focus on “bringing everything together and running a much more efficient service for passengers” when it begins operating, which is expected to be in early 2024.
GBR will absorb Network Rail and take on many functions from the Department for Transport to end fragmentation of the industry.