Matthew Neville

Newcastle’s bid to host Great British Railways HQ garners “passionate” support

The Go-Ahead Group plc is backing its home town by supporting Newcastle’s bid to host the headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR).

With a “skilled workforce, a rich heritage in transport and great connectivity”, Go-Ahead believes that Newcastle is the perfect location for the new body which will oversee Britain’s 20,000 miles of railway.

A competition to select the location for GB Railways’ head office was announced by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2021. Out of 42 expressions of interest, Newcastle was named in June as one of six shortlisted cities to be put to a public vote.

Carolyn Ferguson, Go-Ahead’s Group company secretary who is based out of Go-Ahead’s office in Grey Street, Newcastle, said: “As an international transport company originating from the North East, Go-Ahead fully backs Newcastle’s bid to host the headquarters of Great British Railways.

“Newcastle is a vibrant city packed with innovation, excitement and ingenuity. It’s a great place to live, work and do business, and it’s full of transport talent and experience. We urge everybody to vote for Newcastle in this competition – and we look forward to welcoming Great British Railways to the city.”

GB Railways will be a single, accountable body responsible for Britain’s railways, as set out in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail published in May 2021. The Government wants this new organisation to be based outside London.

Newcastle City Council has proposed two sites for the headquarters, the Stephenson Quarter, where Robert Stephenson’s original locomotive works were established in 1823, or Forth Good Yards, location of the original passenger station when the railways came to Newcastle in 1839.

Sam Cassidy, inward investment manager, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, added: “I would like to thank Go Ahead Group for their support with the Newcastle bid. We’re a region that knows the importance of collaboration and this is yet another great example.

“Our partners and stakeholders are passionate about the future of our city, its growth, and the opportunities investments like this can bring.

“This investment creates a visible and meaningful commitment to Levelling Up and would provide a further boost to our regional economy, delivering new jobs and opportunities for those who live and work here. It will also be a catalyst for further investment and opportunity, creating a new chapter and legacy in our railway history.”

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