5 July 2022

Doncaster makes the official shortlist to be chosen as home of Great British Railways 

Doncaster joins Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Newcastle-upon-Tyne & York in a bid to be crowned the home of Britain’s railways. 

Train

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today announced that Doncaster will compete alongside Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York for the honour of being crowned the home of Britain’s railways following a competition that drew applications from 42 towns and cities.   

The University of Sheffield intially backed the bid alongside the Chambers of Commerce in Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham to bring the new government department to Doncatser. 

The public vote, which will play a crucial role in determining the chosen location, has officially opened and votes can be cast until 15 August. Members of the public can choose Doncaster for this prestigious honour online here, with the final decision made by the Transport Secretary later this year.  

The University of Sheffield has very close links to the rail industry, in particular the specialist steel and rail research and development centre at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). The AMRC is a global network of world-class research and innovation centres that work with companies of all sizes in the manufacturing industry. Sheffield experts conduct exceptional research into sophisticated machining, manufacturing, and materials that are directly applicable to industry. The University is also part of the UK Railway Research and Innovation Network, an initiative that is brings academic research and industry together to revolutionise rail innovation and accelerate the introduction of new technologies.

The central headquarters will be the heart of the rail network and will provide strategic direction for the running of GBR, as well as bringing a number of highly skilled jobs to the area.  

As part of the Government’s commitment to level up the UK, the new GBR headquarters will be based outside of London and bring high-skilled jobs to the winning location. Local economies will be further boosted by a number of new regional headquarters across the country, putting decision-making and investment at the heart of the communities that use those railways day-to-day.   

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:   

“This is fantastic news for Doncaster. Our world-leading railways have well-served this country for 200 years and this is a huge step in our reforms. Home of the most famous train in the world, The Flying Scotsman, Doncaster has all the potential to help shape our network for the next 200 years and level up the lives of its residents and communities. 

“Great British Railways will create a truly sustainable, modern and fair railway network for passengers and freight customers. 

“I’m calling on people across the country to play a key part in this once-in-a-generation reform and vote for the new home of our railways.” 

Leader of the Great British Railways transition team, Andrew Haines, said:  

“A big congratulations to Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and York for reaching the final stage in the Government’s competition to find the national HQ for Great British Railways. Since the competition was launched it has been great to see the interest from towns and cities across Britain who believe GBR’s home should be with them. I am really looking forward to the next step and seeing which town or city has the honour of being the home for GBR. Good luck to the final six.” 

A huge 42 cities and towns came forward to place their bids to be the home of GBR HQ. Applications were measured against six key criteria:  

  • Alignment to levelling up objectives  
  • Connected and easy to get to  
  • Opportunities for GBR  
  • Railway heritage and links to the network  
  • Value for money    
  • Public support  

The creation of GBR was announced as a major pillar of the once-in-a-generation reforms launched by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail just over a year ago. GBR will be a single guiding mind that ends the fragmentation of the rail industry and drives benefits and improvements across the network for passengers and freight customers.