Great British Railways: Shortlist announced of towns bidding for HQ

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Trains in BirminghamImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The shortlist will go to a public vote after 42 towns applied to host the Great British Railways headquarters

Six towns have been announced as the shortlist to become the home of Great British Railways (GBR).

Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York will now go to a public vote where people can choose the town or city they think makes the best case to operate the rail headquarters.

GBR will oversee rail infrastructure, ticket prices and timetables.

The final decision will be made by the transport secretary later this year. 

A total of 42 towns and cities had bid to host the base since the competition to find a home for the headquarters was launched in October.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced plans for GBR in May 2021, saying the body would replace an "overcomplicated and fragmented" system.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Crewe is among the final six towns

The government said applications were measured against six criteria including alignment to levelling-up objectives; connectivity; opportunities for GBR; railway heritage; value for money and public support.

The headquarters would be based outside London as part of its "commitment to level up the UK", it added, and would bring jobs to the winning location.

Local economies would be further boosted by a number of new regional headquarters across the country, it said.

Mr Shapps said: "Our world-leading railways have well-served this country for 200 years and this is a huge step in our reforms.

"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."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The final decision from the shortlist, which includes York, will be decided later this year

Leader of the GBR transition team, Andrew Haines, added: "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."

Following the shortlist's release, in a Tweet, the RMT union described the plan as a "pathetic, diversionary gimmick".

Thousands of RMT members who work for Network Rail and 13 train companies staged three days of walk-outs last month as part of a dispute over job cuts, pay and conditions.

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