The new body running Britain’s railways should be based in York, the city council’s leader said today.
Keith Aspden has called for the Great British Railways’ headquarters to be based here, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps.
Great British Railways will be a new centralised public body uniting control of infrastructure and train services that is to be launched from 2023.
Cllr Aspden is calling for the new flagship headquarters of GBR to be based at the heart of the northern rail industry, on the York Central site, alongside a future Civil Service Hub.
The letter has been co-signed by Cllr Keith Aspden and North Yorkshire County Council leader Cllr Carl Les.
The leaders highlight the role rail continues to play in the economies and skill sector of both York and North Yorkshire, with York accounting for around 5,000 jobs, representing 10% of the national rail industry and two thirds of all rail jobs in the region.
York is already home to Network Rail who manage the East Coast Main Line from York, as well as LNER, Northern, Grand Central, the Siemens train servicing and cleaning depot, the National Railway Museum and many varied rail consultancy businesses, contractors and specialists, from signalling and electrification experts, to civil engineers and railway operatives.
This move has support from MP’s in York and North Yorkshire and the York and North Yorkshire LEP, who are currently producing a fact sheet for Government officials to support this bid.
Cllr Aspden said: “York is the heart of the rail industry in the north, with our existing rail links, sector jobs and highly skilled workforce, so it would make perfect sense for the headquarters of the Government’s flagship rail body to be based in the city.
“This would see a concrete commitment from the Government to their levelling up ambitions, bringing jobs and investment to York and the North.”